How to Give Hope Away

Life isn’t always rosy. It’s a tough but true fact that everyone will experience hurt. Some kind of suffering is going to happen to you and the people you love. Why? Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

We were destined to suffer when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden. I’m not trying to be Johnny Raincloud here (in fact, I think positivity is one of the greatest disciplines we can develop), but we do want to be prepared for the hard stuff that is guaranteed to come our way.

Pain and brokenness create an unparalleled beauty in the healing process that can’t be achieved any other way.

For a long time, I was guilty of passing people by without a second thought. The cashier at the grocery store, the homeless man, the flight attendant on my trip. It’s easy to do; we’re often so self-focused that we forget to focus on others. But recently it hit me: Each of these people are likely hurting in some way. Some may be hurting worse than others, but pain is pain.

As Christians, you and I know that God uses pain to point us to Him, show His faithfulness, and work good in our lives (Rom. 8:28). There’s a reason for the pain. But that doesn’t mean it hurts any less. I’m grateful to have the knowledge of God’s love for us. Imagine, however, if you did not have that knowledge. How would you feel?

Desperate?
Lonely?
Afraid?

Now picture floating words above the people you pass today describing their hurt:

Sad
Lonely
Confused
Anxious

There are so many people we pass on a daily basis who don’t have the comfort of knowing that Jesus works through pain. How do we help someone, whether a friend or stranger, understand the pain? Here are a few suggestions.

Pray

We won’t do any good for someone unless we have the Holy Spirit working through us. Pray for wisdom about how to love this person.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6).

Listen

Don’t talk. Just listen. Recently, I was talking with a friend who’s going through a life crisis. During our conversation, I made a conscious decision to listen more than talk. And this friend was able to have someone who would simply lend an ear. Listening, not just hearing, demonstrates love.

Don’t Try to Fix Things

You know, sometimes I just want to give the person suffering a pep talk and encourage them to move on. But that can’t always happen. Pain must be worked through in order for there to be peace and resolution. You can’t always just move on. Instead of offering a solution, point them toward their Savior. Paul said it this way in 2 Corinthians 1:3–5:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and 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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Acknowledge Your Own Suffering

When people realize they’re not the only ones enduring hardship, this can often bring them back into a reality that “yeah, people are suffering along with me.”

Suffering and pain can break us into a thousand pieces. But sometimes being broken is the best reflection of God’s splendor. The Japanese have an art form called Kintsugi. When a piece of pottery breaks, the artist mixes gold dust into the mortar before putting the vessel back together. When it dries, it’s even more beautiful than before because there is now gold running through what used to be a regular old jar or pot.

We are much the same way. Pain and brokenness create an unparalleled beauty in the healing process that can’t be achieved any other way. Romans 5:3–5 tells us that suffering points to hope:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

So next time you hear of a friend whose parents are getting divorced or hear of a breakup or the death of a loved one, love on that person. But do it kindly, gently, and in love.

Who can you email, call, or text right now to tell them you’re praying for them in this hard time?
What’s most amazing to you about how God’s love is displayed for us in pain and suffering?

For more on hope in suffering, check out these verses:

About Author

Beecher Proch

Beecher Proch calls the Hill Country of Texas home. When he’s not writing, performing with his three siblings in their band, or attempting to get a smile out of someone, you’ll probably find him working on a new entrepreneurial venture. Beecher is passionate about influencing the world for Christ’s Kingdom through stories, be that blogging, writing meaningful music, or going about it the old-fashioned way and taking a pen to the page.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Myranda

    I needed this advice. I’ve been trying really hard to find ways for to recognize Christ in Easter this year, especially with my family getting together. But if I’m honest, my family is in a difficult place right now & ignoring my faith would be easier. When I try to think about how to celebrate Easter, I keep thinking about how dark the world still looks despite the resurrection. I really do want to honor Christ. And I really DO NOT want to cause others in my family to doubt because of my attitude. Maybe hope, praying, listening, acknowledging our suffering together is exactly like what we need this Easter…

  • Tiana

    This is such a great post. All too often we ignore others around us because we’re “too busy” or we “don’t know what to say” or because we don’t want to be seen talking to “that person” because that person is “uncool” to all our friends. But if we’d just take the time to type an Instagram post of encouragement instead of put-downs or sit down and encourage someone who is going through a tough time in their life instead of trash talking them to our friends behind their backs. You have no idea how much that could mean to them. You might make a new friend for life. As i’m writing this, this song was laid on my heart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeBv9r92VQ0. Choose to speak Life.

  • Melissa L

    This is a very important post. Thank you for some much needed words.

  • Savannah

    Thank you so much I really needed this.