There are no perfect words in battle
I recently received a message from a dear friend that had heard something from a Christian author regarding things we say to someone in a time of tragedy. It talked about how sometimes we try and give packaged Christian responses that tie horrible moments into pretty little bows. It discussed how we are conditioned to try and make even the ugliest, evil moments look “tidy” and neat even though sometimes things just suck…that is all there is to it, some moments just plain suck. She apologized to me if she ever came across as wrapped up neat and tidy or gave me those prepacked responses that we are all accustomed to.
I have no idea why, but that message has mulled around in my brain over and over since she sent it to me. I reflected on how many times I have done exactly that when I was talking with someone that was facing tragedy or adversity. I thought about how many times I have said things like “God never gives you more than you can handle” or “God gives the toughest battles to His strongest warriors”, statements that we hope will bring comfort when bad things happen. I even thought about some of the pre-conditioned responses that I have given when being asked about Nash and how he is. They have always been truthful answers, but they haven’t always portrayed my true feelings. Mostly because sometimes it just all feels ugly, and I know that’s not what people want to hear. Some days I am sad, mad, and heartbroken, and feel defeated for all that we have lost. This statement will be shocking and upsetting to some, but I don’t love the statement “God never gives you more than you can handle”! I believe that people all over the world are faced with challenges far beyond their abilities every single day, and I don’t believe that God is the one that “gives” us these challenges – I don’t think that God chose for Nash to be shot – I don’t believe that the God I know would ever choose for an amazing 12-year-old boy to be shot and paralyzed. What I do believe is that when awful things happen, God sends us an army to head into battle with.
What I do believe is that when awful things happen, God sends us an army to head into battle with.
He gives us strength, comfort, power, grace, and an entire army of warriors to help us defeat whatever is ahead of us! I believe that God carries us through battle, but I don’t believe that He carries us TO battle.
As strong as I feel about that particular statement, it amazes me that I have still used it from time to time. Why in world would I say something that I don’t necessarily agree with? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what my words are. It doesn’t matter if I look at a friend going through something horrible and give the best or worst response possible – what matters is that I showed up and joined in their army of warriors, right alongside them and God to head into battle. In the moment of tragedy, there are no right or wrong words. Heading into battle requires no special language – it just requires love.
I am so thankful for a friend that cared enough about being in battle with our family to ask me and stir up this question in my brain. I wish that bad things never happened and that we never need to search for the right words but know that if I am ever hugging you and trying to find the right words, my heart has already gone to battle with you – even if my words aren’t perfect. God doesn’t care if you say it perfectly and neither do I – I am just thankful to have you in my army!