In the past week, I've seen two families lives turned upside down. Not only don't we know what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year, we don't know what the next moment holds. Good news, bad new, joy or tragedy. And when tragedy is there, what can we do? I've seen it hit three families this week. Two had sudden tragedies with no forewarning; the other saw the escalation of a debilitiating, fatal disease that is slowly destroying the mind and body of a family member.
What could I do? "Sorry for your loss?" "I hope the tests come back negative." "She'll be in a better place soon?" "Is there anything I can do to help?"
Obviously there are things that can help, things that we do on a routine basis. Watching the kids, making funeral potatoes, visiting the sick and afflicted. My desire is to take away the burdens, but burdens were what we signed on for when we came to the earth. Everyone will have these issues in one form or another. Everyone in the family may be healthy, but the family members may be wayward. Everyone may be faithful and hard working, but still remain single, or infertile, or deaf, disabled or unemployed.
So what can I do?
The only answer is prayer. While my actions may make things a little better for a little while, it doesn't take away their burden. So I pray. I pray for insight, that I will recognize the things I can do. I pray that they will be comforted, that the doctors will be wise, that they will recognize the hand of God in their lives. That they will be strong enough to carry the burden given and that the Lord will make the burden seem lighter. That the trials they go through will draw them closer to God, that they will cast their burdens upon him and allow him to sustain them. Sometimes it doesn't seem like enough, but prayer is the best, but not only, thing that we can do.