Sometimes, words meant to reassure have the opposite effect.
Jeri, whose son served in the military, offers an example of well-meaning friends who tried to make her feel better by giving her “pep talks” about her son’s time in the military.
I received a number of “reassuring” pep talks from well-meaning people when they’d ask about my son. They would say things like, “He’s in God’s hands,” or “God will take care of him,” or “Don’t worry it will be okay, most kids come back.” None of those things were helpful. It would have been much more helpful for them to just listen and say, “That must be scary (or difficult . . . or hard.)”
I do believe that we are ALL in God’s hands. However, that provides no assurance that we will be safe from disaster or harm. I did believe God would take care of him. I did not believe God would take care of him the way “I” wanted him taken care of. I was sure God had his eternal soul, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t come back without a leg, arm or with brain injuries. That didn’t mean that he wouldn’t watch friends be killed and have to kill someone else or just wrestle with the pain, extreme anxiety and fear of his own demise in a bad and painful way, or watch others experience that terror (which is the trauma that my son experienced even though he never deployed.) There are many casualties in any kind of war. God doesn’t promise those who are engaged in war that God will have a magic bubble around them to protect them from the horrors of war.
No, I did not believe there was a promise that God would protect my son. If there was, then why were so many others prayers not answered? This statement was no comfort. I needed someone to listen to my fear, experience my pain with me and just pray with me.