This is a direct and uncompromising column. The original version was even more direct. There is a reason for its tenor. What we say to people who are suffering matters. We may not be able to alleviate the suffering that people experience, but we can nurture a space in which people experience hope and can trust that God loves them, grieves with them, and cares for them. Anything less is not enough. The article is addressed to clergy, but there points made here that are relevant to anyone who hopes to be a vehicle of hope in hard times.