I’ve given up trying to have the right words for every occasion. Jesus seemed to have just the right words for every situation: rich poor, hostile, friendly, challenging, loving. I’ve always thought that when I’m wise enough and mature enough I’d be able to find just the right words but that ship has sailed. Sometimes the best I can muster for people is, “That sucks. Let’s pray.”
The truth is, sometimes life sucks. We live in a fallen world deeply flawed by the evil we introduced and perpetuate. As a result we experience consequences that are painful and unrelenting. Loss is part of the human experience; grief, helplessness, pain, death. There is no way to sugar-coat this and in those moments there are no words big enough to bring comfort. We can’t stop it. We can’t hide from it. There is no amount of money or fame or success or spirituality to fully insulate us from its tentacles. To live is to hurt. That is life in this broken world.
But that’s not the end of the story. If it were, life would more than suck. But there’s God. There is redemption. There is future. There is hope. Through Jesus, God is remaking this world into the world he intended from the beginning. He is making all things new. And while we experience the pain of loss for a time, the promise of scripture is that there is coming a day (which indeed has already arrived, but that is for another discussion) in which all the sorrows of this life will be gone. No matter how bad life gets, it is worth living in Jesus because when he’s done, everything will be right again. Yes sometimes life sucks, but there’s God. So let’s pray.
“Let’s pray” are perhaps the most powerful words possible in moments of grief. It means there is a God. It means we’re not alone. It means the Creator is listening and personally involved in our pain. It means Father is not willing to sit idly by and do nothing while we suffer. “Let’s pray” is a confession that we are helpless but that God is not. “Let’s pray” is a turning from human solutions recognizing that we need more than ourselves. “Let’s pray” is a cry out to the One who is able to correct all wrongs and renew all that is distorted. Far from a cop-out, “Let’s pray” is recognition that God is in control and remains our only hope in this pitiful existence.
To live is to hurt. Oh there are lots of other things that life is about too, but this we know: if we live we will suffer. It is the sad reality we live in. So I’m done hunting for the right words that will fix people’s problems. I think from now on I’ll just go with, “That sucks. Let’s pray.”