How To Help Others In Light of Pain And Struggle


Where does the light meet the darkness? As I look out my window I see the rainbow of colors that meet the darkness. It is not one straight line in the sand. It does not appear to stop abruptly, it melds one into the other. The hazy clouds of darkness blend into the blue and orange hues below.

This is often how loss and love meet. This is often how pain and pleasure meet. This is often how sadness and joy meet. This is often how doubt and faith meet.

Do you ever notice how we tend to draw a line in the sand when things are going bad? When things in our life our impacting us in deep-rooted ways we look only at the darkness? We ignore the blended line into the light.

Over the past couple of weeks I, have reflected on this a lot. From an outsiders perspective it is easier to see where they meet but when I was in the thick of the darkness my eyes were blind to it.

In one sense I could focus on all the death, health issues and problems that have circled my friends and family these past weeks but instead I choose to see the blend. I chose to focus on the blurring of lines and colors with those impacted the best way I could.

By listening

By sharing my insights from past pain and struggle

By praying for them

By sharing the steps I took

How do you apply this concept with others when they are going through times of trial?

For the sake of committing to memory, let’s refer to it is as LIPS.

  1. Listen
    1. If someone is telling you about a hardship just listen. Listen to their pain. Listen to their anger. Listen to their struggle.
  2. Insights
    1. Provide insights if you have the history to do so and they are ready to hear you. What I mean is don’t try to provide insight if you have not experienced similar struggles and if they don’t appear ready to hear them. If you haven’t just go back to step 1 and be there for them.
  3. Praying
    1. You can do this on your own and also ask them if you could pray with them.
  4. Sharing Steps
    1. If you have insight share what steps you took in the past.
    2. If you don’t have insight share what you have heard others did if you know.
    3. If you don’t have insight share what you might do.
    4. If you don’t think you have enough insight to share just refer back to steps 1 and 3.

If you have gone through a loss of a job, or loss of an immediate family member or struggled through with someone with cancer you have learned a few things along the way. It may have taken a while but you eventually saw how these struggles taught you something. Or maybe they just brought you closer to your family or closer to God. Or maybe it strengthened your friendship or your marriage.

But you also know that while on this journey you did not want to hear about the light. You did not see the blue and orange hues that blended together within the darkness.

But you did have support and guidance from others who had been there. You had them pulling you up instead of staying in the darkness with you. Don’t  give others reason to focus on the darkness but allow them to talk about and move through their journey as needed at their own pace.

How do you help others during times of struggle? How have others helped you in times of struggle?

Share your insights, comments and thoughts below. I love to read comments and engage with others. If you enjoyed my post please share on Twitter or Facebook. You can also follow my blog for future posts or on Twitter. I would love to talk with you.


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