My sister, Loretta, is one of my favorite people in the whole world; so I could hardly stand it when I received the news that her house had burned and was totally destroyed on the inside. I called her immediately and one of the first things I said was, “Just think Loretta, you will get a brand new house.” I was trying to put a “positive spin” on an unthinkable tragedy.
Loretta said, “I don’t want a new house. I liked my old one.”
Immediately I knew that instead of hearing her story, I had jumped in with a “quick fix” because I couldn’t stand to see her suffer.
Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God.” Some well-meaning Christians will use this verse to offer comfort to someone in crisis. A very wise person told me that the truth of the verse needs to be discovered by the person as he or she lives through and works through the crisis.
Eight months after the fire, I was visiting my sister in her beautiful new home. As she took me on a tour, she said, “You know, I would never have had this new home if it hadn’t been for the fire.” Today Loretta can give many examples of how God had worked to bring good out of her crisis. But she discovered that truth as she lived through the crisis and then looked back. Save Romans 8:28 for the grieving person to discover on his or her own timetable.
So please remember, when tragedy strikes, bury your quick fixes. Instead be a compassionate friend and simply listen.