It is not comforting in the moment. It is not comforting to know that what the enemy intends for evil, God intends for good. At the onset of pain and grief, generally the only thing you are focused on is the pain, especially if it is due to loss. Though it is natural for us to seek to give words of comfort, the truth is, usually the pain is so great that the individual cannot even receive or process what we are saying. What they will remember is your embrace, your tears and your presence.
The only way we learn to do this is through our own personal experiences with pain and grief and unfortunately we are not always the best of students. We do not always learn our lessons well and even if we do, we tend to forget them or neglect to apply them.
I was 17 years old when I first discovered that God could use my painful experiences to help others. It was about 10 and a half months after my father had passed away and I had just started my freshman year at a college that was more than 1,000 miles away from home. Several friends of mine, who were attending the international conference for our denomination which was being held in the same town, had stopped by my dorm room to see me. One of the girls, Dianne, had lost her dad a short time earlier.
Knowing that I had also lost my dad due to illness, Dianne began to pour out her heart to me. Why? Because as she told me later, "I know you understand" and I did. No one can completely understand the grief of someone else but those who have experienced something similiar can empathize... just a little.
When my dad had passed away, the only people I knew who had lost a parent were people who had been adults when that happened. From what I have seen and heard over the years, I can only tell you it is a different experience than losing a parent when you are a child or even a teenager. I'd had no one who could truly empathize with me except my brother who was busy dealing with his own grief.
Now I was able to be there for Dianne and if the truth be told, I was glad I was there. Yes, I would have preferred having my dad see me graduate from high school, drop me off at college and do all the other things fathers and daughters do. He would never see me graduate from college or get married. He would never hold his grandson or great-grandson in his arms. Not on this side of Heaven anyway.
That was the evil. Death is evil! However... applying and using the lessons I had learned from suffering pain and grief, enabled me to not just help myself but help others walking a similar road. In other words, God can take the weapon that was meant to destroy us, place it in our hands and transform it as a weapon to use against the enemy. The question is, will we?