January 19 2018 – Click here to listen
A reader recently wrote that she was struggling mightily from a loss. She has become obsessed with the pain from it all and needs relief.
So, what can make her snap out of it and be happy again?
I’ve suffered devastating losses in my life. At times, it was all I could do to eat, sleep, or otherwise function normally. All I could do is immerse myself in my loss day after day. How did I snap out of it?
God drew close to me and I drew close to Him.
Unfortunately, I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. If I were to drink or take illegal drugs right now, I know it would cause great harm to me, thus I don’t drink alcohol or take drugs. While I didn’t ever go to rehab, AA or NA or similar entity, I am well read on the subject and familiar with how they help millions of people.
There are many programs for various addictions and compulsive behaviors, ranging from Cocaine Anonymous to Debtors Anonymous – From what I’ve seen all use basically the same methodology. I believe parts of their training are also very helpful to utilize when we suffer great pain or even tragedy in our lives.
Most of these organizations begin by having participants admit that they are powerless over the situation and that their lives have become unmanageable. They must come to believe that a Power greater than themselves can and will restore them to sanity and they must decide to turn their will and their lives over to the care of God. They must implement prayer and meditation to improve conscious contact with God, and pray specifically for knowledge of His will for them and the power to carry that out.
In the case of alcoholics and druggies they must also make a searching and fearless moral inventory of themselves. Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Be entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Humbly ask Jesus to remove our shortcomings. They should make a list of all persons they have harmed, and become willing to make amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. They must continue to take personal inventory daily and when wrong, promptly admit it.
I feel that much of this can be helpful in dealing with the pain of loss. Life is sometimes difficult, but it can be grand. Bad things do happen to people, but so do good things. I experienced two hurricanes, Camille and Katrina. Both storms were dangerous and wicked, but after they passed the bluest tropical sky I’ve ever seen appeared and the danger had passed. I’ve learned to just hunker down and grit my teeth when living through terrible times, keeping in mind that better times are on the way. Like riding out a hurricane, I know that the winds, rain, and devastation will eventually pass, and bluebird skies will once again appear.
I had a friend come by to see me yesterday whose 19-year-old brilliant son committed suicide last year. At the request of my friend I’d spent several hours with his son trying to convince him to turn to God and allow Jesus to help him through the difficult times of drug addiction that he was living through. Later that night his dad called to tell me he had just shot himself. He was praying for him at the time and heard the shot. He and his wife went in and found him right afterwards. I cannot begin to tell you how sad this made me. Not just for my friend and his wife’s loss, but I agonized over what I might have said differently that might have dissuaded him. It was a dark period in my life for a long period of time and it became all I could think about.
Time has passed, and my friend and I are both much better now. We revisited the situation with his son and the suicide death of my brother yesterday. It brought much of it back and was so devastating that even now I can hardly write or talk about it and yesterday we both teared up. I describe it as having a hole in my heart that cannot be repaired.
I suppose God used both incidents to strengthen my character and I’ve accepted it along with the many other tragedies of my life. I have learned to live with it and I take it one day at a time trying to live every minute to the fullest for God. I’m not always successful, but I’m far closer to God than before and that is a good thing.
Interestingly, when people who go through these programs and experience a spiritual awakening as the result of following these programs, they are told by these organizations that they should try to take this message to others, and to practice these principles in all their affairs.
I suppose that is what I’m doing today. I hope that anyone living in pain today will somehow benefit from what I’ve written. The young man who committed suicide mentioned to me that he was disillusioned in God because bad things happen to good people, and even children. To be candid I don’t know why God allows pain and suffering, but I do know that sadness is as much a part of life as happiness. Jesus experienced both tremendous happiness in His life, but He suffered terribly and was sad because of unbelievers. God’s own Son suffered, and we suffer with him. In His last days Jesus looked at all of it in a positive light as the verse below indicates:
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Have a great weekend and go to church this Sunday!