When You Are Powerless in the Face of Pain and Despair

I am powerless.

A friend and successful tech sales executive I mentored just lost his 21-year-old son. His son went to sleep and didn’t wake up. My friend’s grief is so deep it spills over to me and all who know and love him. But we are all powerless to help. We can only pray and listen to his grief and the grief of his wife and daughter. Powerless.

An entrepreneur I have been advising on and off for a year is going to miss a payroll. He is short $18,000. All he is at 44 years of age and everything he has is in this business. This has to work. The angel investors who have given him a term sheet, the ones who promised a bridge loan until the deal is closed, are too busy to get to the wire transfer. Too busy! Powerless.

An entrepreneur friend submits to his addiction. He is thrown into an emotionally destructive spiral of confusion, doubt, and pain. He is gripped by the continued whisper of failure. Failing God on the idea he was given. Failing the employees and investors he attracted to the deal. Failing his wife and kids. Failing himself. Powerless.

A friend who has dedicated the last 11 years of his life to Georgia Tech and the startup community walks into a meeting with his boss and learns he is no longer employed. It is over. His identity dashed. He is lost, embarrassed and confused. “What just happened? What do I do now?” He says, “I’ve never been fired before. I’m 53 and I’ve never been fired before. I’m a smart, successful executive who loves what I do.” Powerless.

A friend and entrepreneur in his late sixties is borrowing money every month to meet payroll. He needs the time to close a big deal which promises to right the ship. The stress of a lifetime of risk, of being an entrepreneur, has taken its toll on his wife, children, and friendships. He goes forward each day hoping and praying it will work out. How will he live out his retirement? What about his self-esteem? His reputation? His legacy? He has enjoyed multiple big successes in his career. Once he created great companies which changed industries. Now this? Powerless.

A partner, entrepreneur and best friend has been steadily losing his lung function for the last 10 years. He was a vibrant outdoorsman. Brilliant businessman and investor. Has a wonderful wife, kids, and grandchildren. A man who poured himself into everyone around him through a mentoring ministry which affected thousands of men, their marriages and families. A man devoted to Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Now my friend is on oxygen all the time. He must be within five hours of Emory University Medical Center as he awaits the call for his lung transplant. Powerless.

These are real people.

This is what it means to be an entrepreneur.

This is what it means to be an angel investor.

This is what it means to be a friend.

This is what it means to be human.

Are they alone? Is God there for them? Does God love them?

I know each of them is seeking Him.

I sit here and write this because I can’t sleep. My heart aches for them. I pray to God, “Please comfort my friends. Give them relief. Give them comfort. Give them peace. Give them the courage and confidence to go on.”

That is all I can do. I am powerless. We are all in God’s hands. That is a great place to be.

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