Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who's got all the answers?

I have come to dislike pat answers. Things that people say that sound "right" but robotic.
Like they themselves don't really believe it but it sounds like what they are supposed to think.

Let me just interject that I have from time to time been guilty of this.
I think it's mostly out of fear.
Fear that if I say what I really think I may be rejected.
Fear that I may offend God.
Fear that I may cause someone to spiral off into a deep dark hole if I don't think up something encouraging to say, quickly!

Unfortunately I think we the Church are particularly good at "Pat's".
We want to encourage each other.
We want to be positive and say things like "it will all work out".
But the truth is...Sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes we experience great loss and at those very tender times we don't need to hear someone say..."all things work together for good to those who love God."
However true the words may be. Sometimes they may sound like a clangy gong if my heart is broken.

Instead maybe we could say....
"I can't understand God. I'm not going to pretend like I do. I don't get why this is happening to you. I know that you have experienced a sorrow so deep it feels like you won't ever be okay again. All I can say is, I don't understand it! And I feel sorrow with you!
How about you and I go to God together and ask him to show us the way through this."

Sometimes people aren't always ready to even go to God because of the anger they have.
Sometimes they need our faith to carry them.
Our prayers.
Our love.
Not our well meaning one liners.

So this is a reminder to myself today...God wants me to care for people. Not try to be the great physician...instead show them the way to him. He is after all the true healer!

And besides....Let's face it he's the only one with all the answers!


  1. Well said...where did you get all your wisdom?

  2. although i still struggle with wanting to give that pat answer, i have learned that God is bigger than any doubt someone has and being real about how we feel/what we are going thru is so much more helpful than opening my big ol' mouth to make MY discomfort better!

  3. Sometimes the wisest thing to "say" is just to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
    You're right about "pat" answers. I got a couple of those after my husband's ski accident.

    Have ya'll ever thought about relocating to Florida? ;)


  4. Man I hear you Rose....This is so hard when you've got a friend struggling with the biggest news or disappointment ever.

    Loved being with you tonight! You guys are a hoot.

  5. Great post (as always)! I remember when I was in middle school/high school and my parents were going through a separation/divorce someone said to me, "Jamie, I don't believe this divorce is God's will...I think that God is wrapping His arms around you and crying with you"

    That REALLY touched me and brought me so much peace...and I've remembered those beautiful words when I've been a position where I am at a loss for words because someone's grief/pain/etc. is so deep.

  6. See, this post is precisely why I keep coming back for more, Rose! Your wisdom blesses me.

  7. Wow, Rose, this one was meant to share in church.

  8. Great post and so true!
    sandy toe

  9. I read this the other day; but didn't have time to leave a comment.

    Such truth in this post!! Going through loss and struggle as we have in our own lives we have heard many "pat" answers and they are so "shallow."

    I've come to understand that many don't know how to deal with stressful or deeper situations so that becomes their automatic response. It's there way of being there without having to invest any of their own heart/lives into the situation.

    You are able to clearly see those who will venture into the valley with you and eventually gently take your hand to lead you out when it is time; and those who are more fair weathered friends.

    I appreciated that you provided a "maybe we could say..." section so people could gain a deeper understanding of how to be there for others. Unless you have gone through tough times and experienced how to do this first hand it can be difficult to know how to approach it.

  10. You know, I never really thought about pat answers until Jeff and I went through a time of horrible grief and loss. People said the craziest things that were meant to be words of comfort, but came off just plain...awful! I wanted to write a book after that called, "101 Things Not To Say To A Grieving Person". I think people stumble around trying to find a perfect answer, when really the perfect answer is to say something like, "I will be praying for you" and leave it at that.


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