Some time ago, I experienced a loss that grieved my heart and sent my emotions into a tailspin. I know that the Bible tells us that it's all right for us to mourn over a loss, and that we will be comforted as a result. (Matthew 5:4) But I also know that when our grief is prolonged, it can lead to depression and despair. Even those of us who live for God and trust in His Word and promises can become disillusioned pretty quickly when we suffer a loss of some kind. We can even become angry at God and question His intentions. And even though the Bible assures us that the Lord is always with us, we can feel forgotten and forsaken.
After feeling grief-stricken for quite some time, I began to sense the Lord prompting me to begin thanking Him in advance for all the good He was going to bring out of my loss. He reminded me of the apostle Paul, and how when he suffered the most unimaginable trials and heartaches, he declared, "This is all going to turn out for my good"! (Philippians 1:19 TLB) As I began to shift my focus from what I had LOST - to what I could GAIN from this painful experience, I began to experience the gladness that Paul talks about when he says, "I am going to keep on being glad". I took great comfort in Paul's words, "as the Holy Spirit helps me". And instead of focusing on my own inadequacies, I tried to focus on the awesome power of God's Spirit at work in me. Most of all, I prayed. Each time I felt that sinking feeling starting to pull me down, I asked the Lord to strengthen and comfort me. I also asked others to pray for me. I knew that if a great man of faith like the apostle Paul needed the prayers of others, I certainly did, too. His words, "as you pray for me," reveal his reliance upon intercessory prayer.
Proverbs 15:15 AMP says: "All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]". Paul knew the importance and power of a glad heart, and how it could lift us above our circumstances. He knew that the Bible says, "the joy of the Lord is your strength". (Nehemiah 8:10) And he was keenly aware that prolonged sadness can weaken us and make us highly vulnerable to Satanic attack. Paul wrote: "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don't know why things happen as they do, but we don't give up and quit . . . We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going". (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 TLB) Not everything that happens to us in this life will be good. But when we put our trust in God and His goodness, He will bring good out of everything that comes our way. (Romans 8:28)
During this time, I took a nasty fall and suffered a severe knee injury. As I described the pain, swelling, and discoloration of my knee to one of my dearest friends, instead of indulging my desire for pity, she tried to make me see the beauty in my bruises. Suddenly, thanks to her positive perspective, I began to see a rainbow on my knee, instead of an ugly wound. If you have suffered a loss or hurt of some kind, I encourage you to shift your focus from what you have lost, to what you will gain through your painful experience. You will not only find relief and healing, but the Lord will reward your faith in ways that will bless you and glorify Him. It is my heartfelt prayer that by the power of God's Spirit, you will be able to declare as Paul did - "I am going to keep on being glad"!
Prayer: Lord, in times of loss or sorrow, remind me that because of my relationship with You, I can still have an inner peace and joy. Help me not to hesitate to ask You to strengthen and comfort me when I begin to feel overwhelmed. Guard me from depression and despair, and help me to do my part in the process. Thank You that as I trust You to bring good out of my pain, You will turn my grief to gladness!
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