I think I get it now. I’m sorry it has taken me this long to figure it out.
When I said you needed to try something new… When I said you needed to change your habits, change your attitude, try focusing outward… Even when I suggested you pray more fervently… I was wrong to say that.
I’m only beginning to understand now what I was really doing. (It’s just a glimmer yet, but I’ll grow to see, God-willing.) What I was really doing when I said those things was being presumptuous. Yes, I’m super concerned about you. Yes, I’m attempting to put myself in your shoes and feel your pain. I’m trying anything and everything to figure out a way to make it better. And that is not my job. My job is to mourn for you and pray. That’s it. Because I’m not the fixer. God is. I don’t have the answers. God does.
I’ve not been accepting my powerlessness. I’ve not accepted that whatever knowledge and experience I have are not helping you. Instead, I told myself it wasn’t enough to say, “I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for you.” I convinced myself it was like saying, “Be ye warmed and filled.” The truth is: For me to think that I have some solution you haven’t already considered means I’m thinking far too highly of myself. Poor Job. Isn’t that what his friends did to him? They were trying to come up with a solution to fix his horrible situation and, instead, they plagued him with accusations. We come into life with these preconceived notions that life is supposed to work a certain way; and when it doesn’t, we turn and point fingers. Sometimes there isn’t a problem to point to and say, “That’s the culprit.” Sometimes things happen for no reason I can comprehend. Job’s friends didn’t get it. Job didn’t either! He’d been scouring over his life trying to figure out what he’d done to have every one of his children die and boils and disease riddle his body. Even his wife told him to give up on God and die. When his friends started accusing him, he was so frustrated he told them, “Truly then you are the people, And with you wisdom will die! (Job 12:2).” Talk about sarcasm. Talk about feeling bitter towards your friends. Job was telling them pointedly that they had no wisdom to give him for what he was going through. He called them “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2 KJV) because they only made things worse.
And that’s what I want to apologize for. I want to say I’m sorry for not trusting that my fervent prayer and my silent sympathy is what I’m meant to give. I’m sorry for letting my pride, my own importance, convince me that it wasn’t enough to bow to God’s will and take all the love and hurt and frustration and sorrow I feel when I watch you suffer and lay it at His feet.
I’m finally getting it: The best way I can show my love is not to advise or try to empathize, or even ask you, yet again, about what it is you are going through. Because sometimes the best way to care is to mourn in silence and give you a moment’s peace.
I do love you. I hope you will forgive me. I am praying for you. Oh, I am praying hard during this painful time you’re going through. I hope you will pray for me, too, as I try to do a better job as your sister in Christ.
by Lisa Sipper
Lisa is a PK (preacher’s kid) married to a PK. She and her husband, Sam, met at Freed-Hardeman University in 1994. They have been married 19 years and now reside in Madison, Alabama, where she homeschools their three children. (As of 2015, all three have put on Christ!) She has a weakness for a pot of freshly steeped tea, a cozy sherpa blanket, and a copy of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Her strength is found in studying God’s word and in His favor.