When you read the lament Psalms are you comforted? Do you feel God’s care for your plight? Over the years I’ve had a number of conversations about this topic. Some find great comfort in reading about God’s concern for his people in the midst of their suffering. Others prefer to hang out in more positive, praise oriented passages in order to meditate on the good things God is doing. Some find more comfort in realism now, others find comfort in expectantly meditating on heaven.
How about you? How about those you might try to comfort in their time of misery? Does empathizing with the depths of trouble being faced (e.g., “Wow, what you are going through is incredibly hard!”) help or does it endanger more depressing thoughts? Does talking of ultimate delivery in heaven help or distance you from your friend? It is key for us to find out as we walk with those going through the valley.