It’s Ok to Not know what to say


As a broadcaster, what are you to say the day after the tragedy? What words of hope or comfort can you deliver after crime, destruction or terrorism? There seems to be an expectation from the populous that the broadcast professional must somehow make sense out of brokenness.  They look to those in front of the camera or microphone to give answers and reassurance that this time of chaos won’t last.

There are few dates that truly stand out in my mind during the last 10 years of being on the radio. They are the days after hurricanes hit and destroyed entire communities. They are the days after atrocities have happened and innocent people have been killed. Sometimes there simply are no words to say. You let the tears stream down your face, take calls from outraged listeners, and let them vent their anger, frustration and sadness while you listen.

I use an app that selects Bible passages for me to read each day, and over the last several days I have been systematically reading through the book of Job. After utter destruction in his life, including the loss of his children, livestock and health, Job was at a point of helplessness. Friends came to visit and for number of days they sat in silence with him, sharing his grief and lending the support that he needed. However, there came a time when they all begin to share their thoughts on why he was experiencing such trials. I found myself increasingly agitated each day as I read through the account of what these men told Job. While there may have been nuggets of truth in the dissertation that they each gave, by and large, they were unqualified to speak to the problems that he was experiencing.

Having read this book several times before, I knew what was coming at the end. I found myself eager to hear God speak to the issue, silencing the self-proclaimed wisdom of Job’s counselors.  When God speaks, it’s hard to argue.  You may not always like the answers He gives, but His word is the only truth in this world we can rely on.

Among people, there are sometimes no satisfactory answers we can produce to explain pain and suffering. It will inevitably boil down to the one key question: Is God good and trustworthy? Without hesitation, my answer is yes.   The ultimate proof comes thousands of years after Job when Jesus hung on a cross, suffering for crimes he did not commit. The crowd was ravenous for justice or vengeance or simply the desire to see violence. They wanted this man, who caused disruption to their lives, to be permanently silenced.  Before he gave up his life, he uttered history’s most remarkable words; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I imagine that tears stream down Jesus’ face as he watches what we as mankind do to one another.  He’s not absent or turning a blind eye.  He is present and longs for us to hear his words that show there is a better way.

Perhaps not having the right words to say on a day like this is entirely the point.  After all, it’s hard to hear a still, small voice when we don’t stop talking.

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