Back in my single days, I frequently heard it with confidence from others: “You’ll meet somebody.”
In pregnancy, I experienced it again: “Don’t worry. I have no doubt this pregnancy will be fine.”
And now, post miscarriage I continue to be it’s recipient: “You’ll be a Mother. I just know it will happen for you…”
It is the promise of assurance to someone standing in uncertainty. However, there are circumstances in which assurance is not meant to come from anyone but God, and very often, God chooses to leave the outcome shrouded in mystery until it unfolds.
There seems to be something within us that wants to offer assurance to someone experiencing the painful side of uncertainty. I am guilty of it too. Perhaps it is due to the discomfort of seeing someone in pain and offering an assurance seems like the loving way to relieve it in them. Perhaps the discomfort is within us, and offering assurance isn’t about relieving the other person, but about relieving us from having to sit helplessly in someone else’s pain. Perhaps there is a theology incorrectly (my opinion) built around Bible verses that once offered assurance to a particular situation or group of people and we truly believe it continues to apply to this person at this time.
For me, I find that the words of assurance from another person addressing my uncertainty is met with little more than a smile of appreciation for their intention to comfort and an internal “I’m glad you feel that way for me. I wish it was in your power to give.” But when it came to standing in uncertainty, my position remains unchanged except for the renewed realization that I am standing more alone in it.
So what response brings comfort? I suppose it is a very individual thing, what people want to hear when they face uncertainty. For me, it is this: Stand with me in hope. And if you really want to make an impact, go deeper than the standard “I hope you….” but involve yourself in my hope with a sense of: “I am here looking at this situation, and I am hoping with you.” Let the listener know you are seeing what they see in their uncertainty, and you are joining them in hope. Together, you can look forward to that hoped-for outcome.
Most people aren’t comforted by someone else’s words attempting to remove, reverse, or lessen their experience. People are comforted by a sense that they aren’t alone where they stand.
You don’t have to understand, you don’t have to have “been there,” you don’t have to have journeyed down that same path… you simply have to look forward and offer to stand in hope with the person.
Does this resonate with you? In your own seasons of uncertainty, would this bring a sense of comfort? What works for you? Feel free to share so I can continue to grow in my ability to walk alongside others!