I caught pneumonia as a young mother. It hit me fast and furious. Every time I took a breath, I felt as though I’d been hit by a truck. My husband wheeled me into x-ray at the ER because I was too weak to walk. I felt like I was dying.
I haven’t felt that sick since then. Let’s face it— Physical ailments affect our emotional and mental state. When I’m not feeling well, I can barely think straight much less pray. But that’s exactly what scripture calls us to do.
Jesus spent a long period in solitude praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. His emotional pain and mental anguish ran so deep that blood tinged the sweat dripping from His face (Lk 22:44). Overcome with grief, he threw himself face down on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, please take it from me” (Matt. 26:39, TPT).
I think it’s safe to say, Jesus felt like He was dying. But then an angel appeared to strengthen him so He could live long enough to carry out the Father’s will.
A loss is the root of pain and usually leads to grief. Nothing in this world lasts forever. Jobs come and go. Our health deteriorates. Relationships change and often dissolve altogether.
Consider taking these steps as you process your grief:
- Acknowledge your pain. Don’t run from it. Face it head-on. Talk. Shout. Complain. Cry. Pray. Let it all out. Consider also telling your closest friends how you feel. Jesus told Peter, James, and John his heart was overwhelmed and crushed with grief (Matt. 26:38). Find healthy and creative ways to emotionally express yourself ie: journaling, singing, dancing, drawing, painting…
- Seek God’s Perspective. This involves surrender, patience, and trust. I believe this helped Jesus tremendously. He kept pressing into His Father’s presence where He saw the joy on the other side of the cross, therefore; He was able to endure the pain. It’s possible He saw us in His image, powerfully living out our lives (Heb.12:2; Is. 53:10).
- Accept what you can’t change; change what you can. This involves humility, courage, wisdom, love and often forgiveness. Jesus didn’t deny, minimize, rationalize, or blame anyone. He humbly and courageously accepted His fate because His love was greater than His pain.
The Holy Spirit, our comforter, helps heal our grief-stricken heart when we aren’t afraid to bare our soul. He will strengthen us in our weakness just as he did for Jesus.
I recently heard an amazing testimony from Dr. Larry Eddings. During some of his darkest hours following the death of his wife, the Lord gave him several visions. The Lord woke him up and showed him a picture of his wife peacefully laying on the floor where she died. He saw her spirit rise and go to heaven. Later, he saw a vision of his wife again in the glory of the Lord, young and beautiful. His perspective changed, transforming a place of sadness into a place of hope.
The next time your heart feels heavy, instead of asking God why ask him what He wants you to gain from the experience. Through our suffering, we acquire a greater dependence on God who carries our burdens and gives us new life.