We’ve all been there. Life is moving along just fine when out of nowhere comes an attack, and these dreaded attacks can come in many forms. Some are complete blindsides, like a sudden loss that throws us into the tail spin of grief, or a financial devastation that greatly affects our way of life. Others creep up slowly like a cloud of dark depression or an unexpected battle with anxiety.
Regardless of what attacks us, we rarely get a say in the matter. I imagine if we did, these attacks wouldn’t happen.
As much as we can’t control what life throws our way, we can control our perspectives about them and how we respond to them. The problem is that it is so easy to get caught up in despair when our emotions are triggered so abruptly. Grief can swallow us up like a tidal wave, and something like rejection can send our minds on a downward spiral leaving us feeling completely hopeless and helpless. These emotional times can be so challenging, and they scream temptations at us to lose hope or to give up. They can even lead us into isolation where nothing grows but more despair.
It is in these moments that, despite our emotions, we must know and believe that there is nothing – no trial, no illness, no loss, no despair – that God intends for our harm.
Bad things do indeed happen in this world, and sadly they always will. We will experience great sadness, great pain and many hurts. In fact, even Jesus warns us about such trials and tribulations in John 16:32-33. The truth is, this world will be painful, but hope lies in that, even amidst the pain that we so desperately want to be spared of, we can know that He has overcome it all. This truth doesn’t make our pain less painful, but it does breathe hope and life into it.
Dear friends, embrace the emotions that come with pain, because that is a necessary part of being human, but also trust that God can make beautiful things with all that hurts us. Perhaps the depression you feel right now is part of God’s mercy leading and prompting you to get some help to overcome the things that may be holding you back in life far more than even the depression is. Perhaps the loss of a relationship is nothing shy of God instilling His best in your life down the road. Ultimately, pain is painful. Period. But without it, we would likely lose our motivation for change and we would also miss opportunities to be wrapped in His arms of great comfort. Without pain there would be no healing. Without the need for healing there would be no need for a Healer. And that my friends, is a far greater problem than we could ever imagine.
So, go ahead, own the pain you’re in, or one day will be in again, but just be careful not to let it own you!