Help From “the God Who Supplies Endurance and Comfort”
SOME 2,000 years ago, the Bible writer Paul described Jehovah as “the God who supplies endurance and comfort.” (Romans 15:5) Since the Bible assures us that Jehovah does not change with time, we can have confidence that God still gives comfort to those who serve him. (James 1:17) In fact, the Bible reveals that Jehovah supplies comfort in various ways to those in need. What are some of these ways? God gives strength to those who turn to him in prayer, asking for his help. He also moves true Christians to provide comfort to fellow believers. And Jehovah provides heartwarming accounts in his Word, the Bible, that are especially strengthening to those who are grieving the loss of a child in death. Let us consider these three forms of comfort, one at a time.
“Jehovah Himself Heard”
King David wrote about our Creator, Jehovah: “Trust in him at all times, O people. Before him pour out your heart. God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8) Why did David have such confidence in Jehovah? Speaking about himself, David wrote: “This afflicted one called, and Jehovah himself heard. And out of all his distresses He saved him.” (Psalm 34:6) In all the distressing situations that he lived through, David always prayed to God for help, and Jehovah always came to his aid. David knew from experience that God would support him and help him to endure.
Grieving parents need to know that Jehovah will sustain them through intense sadness, just as he did David. They can approach the great “Hearer of prayer,” trusting that he will give them help. (Psalm 65:2) William, quoted in the preceding article, noted: “Many times, I have felt that I could not endure one more moment of life without my son, and I have asked Jehovah to give me relief. He has always given me strength and courage to continue living.” If you likewise pray to Jehovah in faith, the great God of heaven will sustain you. After all, Jehovah God promises those who strive to serve him: “I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.’”—Isaiah 41:13.
Support Provided by True Friends
Those bereaved of a child often need time to mourn in private and sort out their feelings. However, for them to avoid the company of others for an extended period of time would not be a wise course to follow. According to Proverbs 18:1, “one isolating himself” may come to harm. Therefore, those who are grieving should be careful not to fall into the trap of isolation.
God-fearing friends can render important assistance to those who are distressed. Proverbs 17:17 states: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.” Lucy, also mentioned in the preceding article, experienced the comfort given by true companions after the loss of her son. Commenting about her friends in the congregation, she noted: “Their visits helped a lot, although at times they said very little. One friend visited me on days when I was alone. She knew that I would be home crying, and she often came by and cried with me. Another called me every day to encourage me. Still others invited us to their homes for meals, and they continue to do so.”
Although the deep pain that parents feel when they lose a child does not easily disappear, prayer to God and association with true Christian friends will bring real comfort to those who grieve. Numerous Christian parents who have lost a child experience that Jehovah is with them. Yes, Jehovah “is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.”—Psalm 147:3.
Bible Accounts That Provide Comfort
In addition to prayer and upbuilding association, God’s written Word is a source of comfort to those who mourn. Bible accounts reveal that Jesus has the deep desire and the ability to remove the pain of bereaved parents by bringing the dead back to life. Such accounts supply true comfort to those who grieve. Let us consider two such accounts.
Luke chapter 7 describes what happened when Jesus met up with a funeral procession in the city of Nain. The people were about to bury the only son of a widow. Verse 13 states: “When the Lord caught sight of her, he was moved with pity for her, and he said to her: ‘Stop weeping.’”
Few would dare to tell a mother at her son’s funeral to stop weeping. Why did Jesus say that? Because he knew that the mother’s sorrow was about to vanish. The account goes on to say: “[Jesus] approached and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still, and he said: ‘Young man, I say to you, Get up!’ And the dead man sat up and started to speak, and he gave him to his mother.” (Luke 7:14, 15) At that moment, the mother must have wept again, but this time she wept for joy.
On another occasion, Jesus was approached by a man named Jairus, who asked for help for his gravely ill 12-year-old daughter. Shortly thereafter, word came that the girl had died. This news left Jairus heartbroken, but Jesus told him: “Have no fear, only exercise faith.” At the family’s home, Jesus went in to the lifeless girl. Taking her by the hand, he said: “Maiden, I say to you, Get up!” What happened? “Immediately the maiden rose and began walking.” How did her parents react? “They were beside themselves with great ecstasy.” As Jairus and his wife embraced their daughter, they felt deep happiness. It was as if they were dreaming.—Mark 5:22-24, 35-43.
Such detailed Bible accounts about the resurrection of children show grieving parents today what they can look forward to. Jesus said: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Jehovah purposes that his Son will give life to those who have died. Countless millions of children lost in death will “hear his voice” when he speaks to them: “I say to you, Get up!” Those young ones will again be walking and talking. And like Jairus and his wife, the parents of those children will be “beside themselves with great ecstasy.”
If you have lost a son or a daughter in death, please know that Jehovah can change your sorrow into joy by means of the resurrection. To benefit from this glorious prospect, obey the psalmist’s exhortation: “Search for Jehovah and his strength. Seek his face constantly. Remember his wonderful works that he has performed, his miracles.” (Psalm 105:4, 5) Yes, serve the true God, Jehovah, and worship him acceptably.
What will be the immediate result if you “search for Jehovah”? You will receive strength through prayer to God, you will feel comforted by the loving concern of true Christian companions, and you will be uplifted by studying God’s Word. Moreover, in the near future, you will experience the ‘wonderful works and miracles’ that Jehovah will carry out for your eternal benefit and for that of the child whom you lost in death.
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“Bring the Woman Who Lost Two Children”
Kehinde and Bintu, a Nigerian couple who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, lost two of their children in a car accident. Ever since, they have suffered pain because of this terrible loss. Even so, their trust in Jehovah sustains them, and they continue sharing the Bible’s message of hope with their neighbors.
Others noticed the serenity and strength displayed by Kehinde and Bintu. One day a woman named Mrs. Ukoli said to one of Bintu’s friends: “Bring the woman who lost two children at the same time and is still preaching the Bible’s message. I want to know what gives her the power to endure.” When Bintu arrived at the woman’s house, Mrs. Ukoli told her: “I want to know why you are still preaching about the God who killed your children. God took my only girl. Since then, I have nothing to do with God.” Bintu used the Bible to explain the reason why people die and why we can have the sure hope that dead loved ones will be resurrected.—Acts 24:15; Romans 5:12.
Afterward, Mrs. Ukoli said: “I used to think that God takes people in death. Now I know the truth.” She decided to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to learn more about God’s promises.
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‘I Want to Help, but I Do Not Know How’
While the parents and siblings of a deceased child feel great sorrow, their friends may feel apprehension. They want to support the family but fear that saying or doing the wrong thing will make the painful circumstance worse. Here are some suggestions for those who may think, ‘I want to help, but I do not know how.’
❖ Do not avoid the bereaved because you are not sure what to say or do. Your very presence is strengthening to them. Are you at a loss for words? An embrace and a sincere “I am so sorry” lets them know that you care for them. Are you afraid that if you start to cry, you will contribute to their sadness? The Bible says: “Weep with people who weep.” (Romans 12:15) Your tears show that you share their grief, and that is comforting.
❖ Take the initiative. Can you prepare a light meal for the family? Can you wash the dirty dishes that have accumulated? Can you run errands for them? Do not say, “Let me know if you need anything.” Even when said sincerely, those words tell many bereaved parents that you are too busy to help them. Rather, ask, “What can I do to help you now?” and then carry out their request. But avoid intruding in the private areas of their home or in their lives.
❖ Avoid saying, “I know how you feel.” Each human reacts differently to the death of a loved one. Even if you too have lost a child, you do not know exactly how they feel.
❖ Much time will pass before a semblance of normalcy returns to the home. Continue helping as much as you can. Initially, there is often a flurry of attention given to a bereaved family, but they need more. Be attentive to their needs in the weeks and months to come.*
For more information on how to help those mourning the loss of a child, see the chapter “How Can Others Help?” pages 20-4 of the brochure When Someone You Love Dies, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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Bible accounts show that Jesus has the power and the desire to bring children back to life