In the light of a recent tragedy, Doug Wolter, pastor in Humbolt, Iowa, shared the following with his congregation as a simple giving real help to those who were hurting. This is a summary.
H – Offer hope. We may not be able to offer any explanation of why this has happened, but we can point to Jesus, who has uniquely entered into our pain and suffering.
E – Enter into the other person’s pain. Empathise with them. Being there for someone, and grieving alongside them, can be the best way of expressing love and care.
L – Listen to them and show love. Be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). Love them in practical ways. Make a meal. Offer a gift. Spend time with them.
P – Pray for them and show patience as you walk with them through their suffering. They may find it hard to pray. Lift this burden by praying for them. And remember that once the intial crisis has passed the pain may persist for a long time.