It’s a question that leaps to the forefront of our thinking when we are confronted with a situation of pain and anguish. Especially when that situation involves the loss of a child. It’s difficult enough to bury your parents, but in the back of our minds we always knew we would someday. But it is totally unnatural to bury a child. There is a level of pain involved that never completely leaves us during this lifetime. We learn to cope and work through the pain, but the empty spot in our souls remains.
The songwriter Dana put it this way in a song about how Mary felt watching Jesus’ death:
I rocked him as a baby
I fed him as a child
I heard him call my name out in the night
I helped him take his first step
I cried when I heard his first words
I wish they all could see through a Mother’s eyes

There is no pain as acutely intense as that what a parent feels at the loss of their child. But our Heavenly Father knows how we feel at such a time, because he watched as his Son was illegally tried, falsely accused, and brutally murdered.

But we must never, not even for a little bit, think that the presence of pain is the absence of God. Jesus went to Bethany to comfort Martha and Mary after the death of their brother Lazarus. He came and wept with them, even though he knew he was going to resurrect Lazarus!
In Romans, Paul instructed Christians this way:
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15 NASB)

When ministering to someone who has lost a loved one, especially a child, there is nothing you can do or say that will make it all better. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and will accomplish His mission. But sometimes it is very comforting to have someone who is there to weep with you, like Paul said to do. That is even more meaningful if you have been through a similar loss in your past.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 NASB)

If you have suffered a loss in the past, don’t keep the comfort that was given to you all to yourself. Pass it on to another one who is suffering. Make sure they know that they are not alone. Just “be there” for them and take care of details so they can focus on the grieving process.

The sun will shine again, and life will go on. Know that you are not alone for you have brothers and sisters in Christ, and most of all, you are under the care of the Comforter. And when you feel like you have hit bottom, you are resting upon God!
“The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms”
(Deuteronomy 33:27a NASB)

In memory of Sarah Elizabeth Reeves