I got an email this week from a friend who wanted advice on how to help a friend who had just had a baby with special needs. I was actually honored that she would ask me how to help her friend. I remember when our local hospital would call my mom and say, “We’ve had a baby born with Downs. Can you come talk to the parents?” It is a privilege to help others get through what we’ve been through.

But what if you have a friend who is hurting and you can’t empathize? Can you still help? Absolutely you can help. And here’s how–

Give her hope. Big hope and little hope.

The big hope is that God is in control and has a plan. A perfect plan. And whatever pain she is feeling now is part of His perfect plan. The big hope is sometimes hard to hear, but must be said. For without big hope, her pain is meaningless. Just bad luck. Or karma. Or an accident. Or her fault.

The little hope could be 100 different things. Give her hope that tomorrow will be better than today (and even if it isn’t better, God’s grace is sufficient). Give her hope that you’ll go see a movie with her, or bring her dinner, or invite her kid to your kid’s birthday party. Just let her know you care, and that you’ll care tomorrow.

There’s more specific advice we can give when you’re helping a friend who has had a miscarriage, or her husband lost his job, or her mom passed away, or her son is rebelling, or she just got a foreclosure notice, or the test results came back positive. But every situation needs hope–big and little. And as a friend you can help her find that hope!

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 16:9a

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