“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
A question, I get often in youth ministry is how do I help my child through tragedy and grief. Students are being faced with grief, sorrow, pain, death, and tragedy on a regular basis and I want to give you a few tips to help them through no matter the severity.
Fight to create an environment in your home that breeds togetherness before tragedy strikes. Your student needs to know that you and your home are a safe place to share sorrow and brokenness. Remind them of this regularly so that when crisis strikes it is not awkward or new. Listening and engaging with them about things (yes, you will think they are lame, but you were a teenager once too) they like will help you develop rapport and respect with them so when large issues arise, they will come to you. Trust me, you want to be apart of their mourning and comforting process.
2 Corinthians 1:7 says, “Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” I want to encourage you that our hope is found in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection. Remind your student that central to the message of Jesus is that he conquered death. Move your student towards this Good News with your actions and words. If they are heart broken or if a best friend passes away, they need to know that God cares and his Gospel is at the center of it. When Jesus tells his disciples that he is going away they are confused and then Jesus says in John 16 verse 20 says “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” Your students sorrow can turn to Joy because of the work of Jesus.
I tell students often that there is purpose is pain. As you navigate the situation with your student pray for them to understand and reveal how God wants to transform them through this process. You yourself can probably look back and remember tragedies in your life that formed you and grew your reliance on God who sustained you. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”