Not long ago I did a bible study on the Book of Job via David Jeremiah's bible teachings. For those who have read it, it's a book about suffering and trials, heartache and blessing. But the thing that stood out to me most in this book was the lesson of compassion to those who are hurting, or to people who have lost something, or someone.
As David Jeremiah liked to joke, anytime he was preparing to teach a new lesson, God would send something into his life to provide him with an object lesson that he could use in his teaching. I have found that God has done something similar with me on anything I've learn. However, for me the application has always come immediately after completing the lesson.
Not even more than a couple hours after completing the study on Job, God immediately hit me with my first opportunity to apply what I'd learned in real life. It involved the death of my old high school gym teacher Mr. McDill. While I only had him for one semester in which he taught me how to swim and to be less afraid of the water which I was quite terrified of.
Then I no more than get done with that and another friend died. I no more than get done with that one, and another dies. Yes, three in a row. Not many would want such a tragedy to happen in their lives. I know I certainly wouldn't have wanted it. And yet through all of that I felt as though God gave me a unique blessing, an opportunity to both practice what I'd learned in the book of Job, namely how to be compassionate to those who are hurting, but also the chance to minister to someone else, even if I too was hurting inside.
And as strange as that sounds, it's true. Ministering to others is just as much of a blessing, if not actually an even greater blessing, than having someone minister to you in your time of loss. And through all of these experiences I've come to understand something that I didn't understand before. I've never been good with handling emotions. Just ask anyone who's known me. ^_^;;
However, through studying the Book of Job, and suffering through these three losses, I've come to understand some things I never would have learned in any other way. It's always hard losing someone. But to have a kind, caring individual who can stand there and minister to you, empathize with you, and be your friend, even going so far as to cry with you, or to give you a shoulder to cry on, even if you just want to be alone, is a blessing beyond measure, both for the giver, and for the one who receives their compassion.
So my closing thought is this. Be a friend to the hurting, a soft place onto which they can lay their wounded emotions, and help them to move through this time of loss with a grace that can only come from knowing Christ. If you are not a Christian, and do not know Christ, then come to him, as he is the greatest comforter of all. :)