When Words Fail Us

Have you noticed that there are times when words just fall flat? Have you ever tried to console a grieving friend and inadvertently said something awkward? Have you ever been consumed with your own grief and the words of a well-intentioned friend felt more like salt in a fresh wound? Maybe this happens because words are not what are called for. Words sometime fail us! Read more….wordsI recently became acquainted with a powerful song dealing with grief. The title to this song is NOT RIGHT NOW. It is a song by Jason Grey. Not long ago, I shared this song with a friend. He and his wife had lost their young adult son. He was their only child. This song really spoke to their soul and touched the feelings that he and his wife were experiencing.

The song writer makes many important points.  He says that when someone is grieving it’s not the time to tell them that their loss happened for a reason. He says that in time, the grieving person might come to an understanding that some dreams had to die in order for new ones to come alive, but in the midst of grief that is too much to comprehend.

The song also specifically addresses the point that words often fall short. He tells us to just be present and sit in the ashes of life with those who are experiencing this painful loss. Then he makes a very important point. He says that together with our friend we can pray to the one who is acquainted with their grief.

There is so much wisdom in those words. Often just our presence, just being there, just a hug, or even a cry together, is more important than anything we might say. In addition, we all know of course, that there is nothing more important than praying to Jesus, especially because in His humanity He also experienced real grief.Finally in the song’s refrain we hear these words repeated several times:  “I know someday, I know somehow, I’ll be okay, but not right now, not right now, no, not right now.” It seems you just can’t hurry the grieving process.

I realize that due to busy schedules, many readers often skip over my embedded links. Please don’t do that today! This song only takes a few minutes to listen to, but the wisdom contained in the lyrics will serve you well for a lifetime.

The reality is this, we all want to help others who are hurting and we want to fix their brokenness. There is a natural desire to explain away the reason for the situation that caused their pain. What we must understand is they often only need us to be present with them; we don’t need to say a thing.

Grief is a process and each person should be given the opportunity to process it in their way. It takes time. Our little kind gestures can also go a long way to help someone who is dealing with deep unfathomable pain.

griefThere are two things that we should never do. The first is this, we should never compare how we handled some past grief with what this person is going through now. The second is that we should never say that the loss of their loved one was all part of God’s greater plan or that God somehow caused this death for some greater purpose. God grieves when they grieve.

Revelation 21:4 tells us that one day every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more death, mourning, wailing or pain. We are reassured by Psalm 34:18 when in it we read: “The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions.” Finally, we can find consolation in Matthew 5:4. It states: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

blessed 2

Our Christian faith gives us hope. We must understand that not every bad event that happens in our broken world can be explained away. Jesus himself wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. God knows the needs of those who are hurting. Let’s trust Him to ease their way.

Lord God, help me to realize and accept that there will be a day when all pain will be gone and we will all be okay, but it’s not right now, no it’s not right now!


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Brian Pusateri
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  1. Nancy Hall on September 6, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I believe it’s also important to remember that in the first few days or even few weeks after the death of a loved one, many people will be present for the one(s) who are grieving. It is a blessing to them if you are there for them later, after the initial flurry of a funeral, casseroles, visits, etc., and when the person is alone with their memories. They need some of that alone time, but they also need emotional support.

  2. Paul Coletta on September 6, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks for a beautiful 4th day letter Brian, I will be visiting my mother who’s very ill in hospice next week and knowing that just being present and praying will help comfort her, helps me tremendously.

  3. Mike Horeth on September 6, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Thank you for this outstanding article. There are so few people who understand the power of presence. They always feel like they have to verbally “justify” the pain of grief. It’s something each person must journey through. After the loss of my 19 year old son, many years ago, a song by Jeremy Camp “There will be a day” gave me the strength the keep going.

    • Brian Pusateri on September 6, 2016 at 4:00 am


      Thank you for sharing from your own painful real life experience. I cannot imagine your pain of losing your son. May God bless you!

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