Wednesday, September 01, 2004

How Do You Comfort a Non-Christian?

My family and I have been friends with a Muslim family from Kuwait since about 1991 or so. They are just about as staunch in their beliefs as we are in ours.

We've invited each other to family weddings and other get-togethers, and have had a lot of fun together. The youngest daughter in their family is only one year younger than me. She got married in 2001, I think, or early 2002, and just recently had a baby. She and her family are really hurting now, though.

About a week ago, the mother had to undergo brain surgery to remove a benign, but growing tumor. The neurologists (including the daughter's husband, who practices in Texas) said that the most they could expect of complications might be some numbness in part of the mother's face or on one side of her body, and other side-effects similar to that. But now, it seems, there may be much more to it than that.

The mother woke up fine after surgery, but her brain quickly started swelling. Fluid was being drained off her brain. The doctor gave her medicine to induce a coma so she could heal, but they're not sure she'll regain consciousness. Internal bleeding started, and it's too deep to do anything. The coma medicine has worn off by now, and they're waiting for a doctor to do a final diagnosis. If she's found to be brain-dead, they'll have to unhook her from life support.

Now, I know that since she never accepted Christianity, but held to her Muslim beliefs that Jesus was merely a prophet and that her salvation depended on her husband, that she's not going to go to heaven if and when she dies. But how am I supposed to comfort her daughter? She's a close friend, and her family is like family to me and my family.

All I could think to say to her was that I was so sorry for her and that I was praying for her mom and the whole family. I mean, I know my prayer will be answered because I pray to the One True God. They don't. But answered prayer is not necessarily a prayer that is answered in the way you want. She may still die today. And that makes me very, very sad!

What am I supposed to say or do to make this grieving family feel comforted? I'm at a loss. All I can do is show them the love of a Christian, but I don't feel like that's enough.


Devona said...

Erica, I wish I had some advice for you. All I can offer you is the consolation of knowing that you're not the only one who's had this dilemma. No one in my family is Christian, so whenever a tragedy hits I never know what to say.

God bless you and your family for loving and supporting this Muslim family, and remember that God always answers prayers. Also remember that He is sovereign and we are to trust Him always. God knows exactly why this is happening. There is nothing more you can do for them except to show them love as a Christian. You can try to meet their temporal needs, and let God meet their eternal needs.

I will remember to pray for you, and for this family. God bless you.


Mrs. T. Swede said...

Just as a note, she did die the next day. I feel for the family, and hope that I will be able to comfort them somehow.