February is a difficult month for our family. Specifically today, which we call Lilly’s day. In 2015, my husband and I had twin girls. For most couple, this would be a joyous occasion, our story was a little different. I was only 24 weeks pregnant at the time of their birth and both of them weighed a little over a pound each. Eight days after she arrived the Lord called our oldest daughter, Lillian, home. Our other daughter, Evelyn, was in the NICU on a breathing machine. Our pastor came up to the hospital and told us to “focus on Evelyn.” During heart shattering moments in life it is hard to focus on anything but the despair you have found yourself in. How can we pick ourselves back up after our souls have been crushed with such a blow? Whether losing a child, losing a parent, losing that job you desperately needed, all you can think of is the loss. The Bible has several passages on how to deal with despair.
- In everything, pray. Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Guarding your heart and mind is essential in sufferings. During these times when we feel that God is far from us we need to pray for peace. Our struggles, our hurt, our thanksgiving all of it can be brought to the throne of God through prayer. David wrote many Psalms speaking of the trouble in his soul and crying out to God. David also found peace in knowing God was his only salvation.
- Change our focus. Continuing in Philippians 4 verse 8 it says “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” During these types of trials instead of focusing on what we have lost, we should meditate on the blessings in life. It says “whatever is lovely”, like singing happy birthday to Evelyn, “whatever is praiseworthy”, like getting to see Lillian and hold her. Don’t let your mind get away from you with negative thoughts, if nothing else meditate on the promises God has given us.
- God promises us that He has a plan. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). It’s hard for us to see the big picture when in the storm. Peter walked out of a boat towards Jesus and while within arm’s length of the savior Peter started to pay attention to the storm instead of focusing on the Lord (Matt. 14:22-33). God will not let you sink into despair and He does have a plan for everyone’s life. You may never know why you had to go through this suffering. The Lord never revealed to Job why he was put through those trails. All he could do is trust that God, who controls the universe, knows what He is doing.
- God promises comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3-4 “ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” God is eager to provide comfort to His children in any and all circumstances. This comfort, Paul goes on to say, produces endurance. The misconception in all of these things is that God will take away the sorrow quickly. That is not always the case. Remember God does not waste our suffering and He will call us to comfort others.
Navigating through sorrow can sometime feel helpless, but as children of the one true God, we find peace and comfort in knowing God has a plan for us. Focus on what is lovely and praise worthy. If you know someone is struggling make sure to comfort them like the Lord has comforted you.