When a friend is hurting, we wish we could make it stop. We cannot fix most situations, and we often end up doing one of two things. Either we avoid talking about the pain because we feel helpless, or we resort to statements of questionable certainty like, “there is a good reason for this” or “everything will be okay.” Those things might be true, but they are rarely comforting.
The Psalms equate the comfort of God with steadfastness, refuge, guidance, and nearness (119:76, 91:2, 23:4, 34:18). Paul writes that we can comfort others with the comfort God has provided for us. Comforting another the way God does means being present. You give comfort when you listen to someone else’s grief, then stay with them. It is regularly checking in with your grieving friend, whether the loss is big or small.
Blessed be the…God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV
Comforting well lets others feel safe to express their big, messy emotions without our immediate attempts at fixes. Comfort can include guidance but know the difference between venting and seeking advice. Comfort offers to share burdens that cannot be removed. Comfort is practical, lightening the load of grief through meeting needs such as food, childcare, and chores. Thoughtful, heartfelt words can be comforting. Comfort can be sharing laughter or tears. Comfort might be silent.
We cannot make the promises God can, but we can reflect His comfort. Who do you know that needs comfort today?
Resource reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11