By Sheri Rose Shepherd, Crosswalk.com
When life leaves your heart overwhelmed and your head spinning, it’s hard to know how to move forward.
To be honest, I was sure that my faithfulness to God, my decision to marry a Christian man, and my commitment to full-time ministry, ensured me a life where the enemy couldn’t destroy my family foundation. But five years ago, my life was dismantled in every way. In the book of Job, the Scripture describes my life all the way down to the boils on Job’s skin. My boils have come in the form of cancerous tumors all over my lymphatic system. While I don’t want to share the devil’s details or dishonor those involved, I do want to share with you how to get through the fire without burning up.
I know from personal experience that when you’re in a severe trauma or test of faith, you can’t help but wonder if the tears and trials will ever stop! I’m here to tell you that every season of suffering has an expiration date, and you will get to the other side. You have the power of God and perspective, combined with one right choice at a time. This changes everything, including you and the outcome.
Remember when Jesus resurrected, He didn’t talk about all the things that were done to Him on the way to the cross. He showed us his scars and the way to walk in truth! If you’re walking through a tough season, I am so sorry and I never want to casualize a casualty. I’d like to share four ways that I pray will heal, help guide you in decision-making, and give you hope for the future.
Give Yourself Grace to Grieve
If you are the one that has suffered the loss of a loved one, the grief has a gravity that’s impossible to withstand without grieving. You must take time to grieve, there’s just no way around it. In the Psalms, David cried a lot. In doing so, he sets an example for us. Your Heavenly Father says what you sow with tears you will reap with joy. Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, says there is a season for sorrow and that season needs to be complete to move on to the next season.
Process with the Right People
It’s very important that during a healing time you disconnect from negative or insensitive people. Even those with good intentions that love you can hinder your healing. It’s okay to tell people you love that you do not want to talk about something. It’s also okay to get help from those that can actually help heal you. Honestly, when you’re in the middle of an emotional or relational crisis, you really need people that will just listen and serve silently.
During your healing season, really pay attention to how you feel after people leave. Do you feel closer to God when they leave? Do you feel stronger? Do you feel comforted? When I was going through my four-year healing crisis, I learned it was better for me to be alone with the Lord than to be with the wrong people. Remember some people don’t mean any harm and don’t mean to hurt you while you’re already hurting, they’ve just never been where you’ve been, and they have no idea how to handle your heart. But whatever the reason, this is your season to get healed.
Don't Give Up on God
When you are in a crisis of any kind, it feels like a test, doesn’t it? It can really weaken our faith in God and make us wonder why we’re even here. There was a famous Christian surgeon who knew how to do surgeries that no one else could do. As a result, he saved thousands of lives. One day he got a spinal disease and it caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down. Still, he was determined to continue his purpose. Some of his best friends set up a monitor on the ceiling above the bed he was bound to. He had headphones with a microphone and a camera on the ceiling. Believe it or not, this famous surgeon talked to doctors all over the world and coached them step-by-step through live surgeries. By doing this, he continued to save even more lives than before!
During a crisis, there is a refinement that takes place in our lives and in our relationship with God. As we continue to trust God, He will open doors for us we never experienced. And, when we come out on the other side—and there will be the other side—we can see all that God has done in and through us.
God Is Close to the Broken-Hearted
You’re going to experience God in ways you never have before. The truth is He becomes most real to us when we cry out to Him in pain. Feelings of guilt, anger, despair, and fear are common. These feelings are normal. And we need to express them to our Heavenly Father. He already knows our thoughts, so cry out to Him. In doing so, it will draw you closer to Him and deepen your relationship with Him. You will begin to feel His presence as He catches your tears and tenderly loves you back to life again. Psalm 147:3 tells us, “He heals the brokenhearted.” Healing is coming. It may not be in the way we expected or when we expected, but it is coming. And just as He was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he is with you in your darkest night, too.
Living in a time of crisis is hard. And, we all have had our share of hard times during the last year. Whether we are in a season of goodness or a season of crisis, when it is all said and done, when this life is over and we are in eternity looking back at our life on Earth, we will find that the only thing that matters is what we did to prepare for eternity. And until we enter Heaven, it is my prayer that you fight the good fight, keep your faith, and finish strong. You are His blessed child, and He loves you!
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/coffeekai
For the past 30 years, Sheri Rose Shepherd has been in full-time ministry as a best-selling author, speaker to tens of thousands each year, and the founder of His Princess Ministries. Her latest book is Beyond the White Picket Fence: What to do When Your Life is Dismantled.