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Part VII
(Comforting The Silent Sufferer)
II Corinthians 1:3-4
Betty J. Winters

Several months ago, my Husband/Pastor, Dr. Timothy Winters made a statement that within the congregation there were people who needed comfort, but would go on with their lives without complaining. He called them "Silent Sufferers," thus the idea for this topic.

Why do women who serve the same God, sit on the same pew with us, but will not confide in us the pain they may be going through? Perhaps they are fearful of rejection, and if this is the case, we need to involve ourselves in their pain, establish a relationship with them, and work on becoming a comforter to those who are hurting.

In II Corinthians 1:3-4 the Apostle Paul reminds us that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a Father of mercy and God of all comfort, that He comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the same comfort that we have received from God the comforter. Therefore, God has called us to be comforters to each other.

How we comfort one another is predicated on how we handle our own pain. We certainly do need to be able to comfort the younger woman because some of the pain and hurt they are experiencing are things we have already been through. Our job is to communicate a caring attitude and be involved in helping to soothe their pain. None of us will become great comforters without comforting skills.

Human suffering in some form or another is inevitable. Our ministry is to present the Biblical way of comforting the sufferer. There is a wrong way and a right way to comfort.

It is wrong to judge the situation, but it is right to empathize with the sufferer (Rom. 12:15). Do not have a "know-it-all attitude," but pray for yourself (James 1:5) because you will need wisdom so as not to be analogous to Job's friends, "miserable comforters." Do not try to solve the problem of the sufferers, but pray for them (Phil. 4:6, 7). Never assume that people are suffering because of sin. It is wise to listen to the one who is suffering (James 1:19). Lastly, consider causes other than the sin of the sufferer (Job. 42:7; John 9:2, 3; Heb. 12:5-11).

To the older woman, keep the Titus 2 teaching in mind. The value of our faith along with the combination of spiritual maturity and life experiences will be great assets in helping the younger woman survive during hurting times. Be available to comfort with kind and soothing words (Prov. 16:24). Stand by the person for as long as it will take. Oftentimes hurts run deep and healing takes a long time.

Also, hurting times can be a great opportunity to encourage and equip the younger woman on how to endure suffering. Here are some ways to help the younger woman remain focused: encourage the young to be content and know that God is in charge, acknowledge God, pray more, trust in God to guide, wait on Him, keep pure, continue to hope, and glorify God.

Allow the silent sufferer to trust you as an older woman. Be a safety zone for them, thus enabling them to open up, share the pain and go on to the road of healing.