Comfort for Devastating Loss | How to help

Dear Cornerstone Family,

It's happened again.

Our community is rocking with the pain of another young death from suicide. For whatever reason, he couldn't push past the despair he felt in that moment to get to the place where he felt hope. All of us are hurting.

Words fail.

A few things you can do when words fail:

Just listen.

There are no magic words, not even a Bible verse, that can minimize the pain. You can actually make the pain worse by saying misguided things, or asking questions, or spiritualizing the situation. Please don't say things like, "Everything happens for a reason" or "God needed another angel" or "He's in a better place" or "God won't give you more than you can handle." In our broken world, unspeakable tragedies occur daily, but that doesn't mean God causes or approves of those tragedies. Some grieving people have turned away from God, the one they really need to be their ultimate source of comfort, because of such misguided thoughts. Even assuring someone that their loved one is in heaven may not be helpful to a survivor in early grief who is only thinking, "BUT I WANT HIM HERE WITH ME!"

What can you say?

"I love you, and my prayers are with you."

"What a terrible loss for your family."

"He was a good person. He will be so missed."

"How can I help you today?" (Then follow-through with errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, going to church with them, etc.)

"I am so sorry for your loss. I don't even have words for it."

"I can't imagine how much pain you are in. We hurt, because we love him too."

"I'm here."

You can write a note with a good memory of the person who has died, and share something wonderful about their kindness, humor, good deeds - something to show their life left a mark.

Show up.

Probably the very best thing you can do is show up. Don't avoid them, that hurts worst of all. Let them see you care, and don't tell them how to feel. The Jews called it "sitting shiva." It means that friends come, and just sit silently and grieve with you. It's healing - just the caring, praying presence of friends. Tell them that you are praying for them. And then really do. God can say and do things that we can't imagine.

He is the healer, and we are his people. Pray, show up, sit shiva. God will use you.

Love and Prayers,

Pastor Brenda Young

Senior Pastor | Cornerstone Church

Not Easy, But Worth It

Not Easy, But Worth It

Have you acknowledged to yourself that, despite your best efforts and optimistic overlook,  there are seasons that are astonishingly hard? Despite the happy face we deliberately choose to encourage other people, or even the perhaps less well-intentioned social media posts presenting the highlight reels of our lives, there are days, episodes, even entire seasons when we live anywhere but Easy Street.

This week my daughterRachel Carpenter and I were texting about the winter of the soul we both had experienced in the last year, made bleaker by the significant struggles and hurts of those we care about so deeply. Her texts were so...well, I can't describe them. But they were mightily on point, and I asked her if she would type them up and let me share. She agreed. Here they are. I'm going to reflect a moment at the end. Please know these come from a very difficult head and heart space, but not a depressed one.

Feeling Like Job? Maybe Not So Much...

Feeling Like Job? Maybe Not So Much...

Just finished reading the book of Job again. Fascinating dialogue between a man badly misunderstood by his self-righteous friends, and an intimate dialogue with God who knew him best. It's interesting how common culture misuses this story, though. Many people compare themselves with Job when they are suffering...but few of us could even aspire to that, myself included. NONE of Job's trials were brought on himself because of his own poor choices. NONE of his suffering was because he had sinned. In fact, according to Job 1, God himself said about Job, "There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”(v.8) HIS suffering was initiated because Satan believed the only reason Job was obedient and faithful was because he was enjoying God's favor and protection.