Focus: Beating sorrow
Psalm 32:10 (ESV) Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Sorrow can’t be avoided in this life. Sorrow is felt by those who are capable of loving. People who have a knowledge of their failures know how sorrow feels. Nobody goes through life without experiencing sorrow. No doubt about it, sorrow is part of life for the unjust and the just, the wicked and the righteous. God allows sorrow as a way of deepening our character.
Prolonged sorrow can grow into depression. When that happens, it can seem like it will never end. You lose your lust for life. Colors aren’t as bright—flowers don’t smell as sweet—things that used to be ‘easy’, start looking impossible. When you can’t see the end of sorrow, you start to wonder about a lot of things. Negative things. Like, if this condition might be some kind of curse that may never end. You may question why God would allow you to experience such pain and isolation. You wonder why scriptures you may have known so well just don’t seem to be working for you right now. So many things don’t make sense.
When you’re in this weakened condition—things tend to ‘pile up’. Tasks you would normally have no problem with—like dishes, laundry, general life maintenance issues, maybe even personal hygiene—become a chore you just don’t know how to face. Other things that ‘pile up’ are the accusations in your mind. As you’re wondering about the ‘whys’ of your situation—your mind goes wandering. It might go back to childhood memories that were painful—words said at any given point in time which were insulting—failed relationships—loss of employment—rejection—mistakes you made. All of these recollections seem to come sliding back into your brain and the layers ‘pile up’ until you feel buried with no strength to shovel your way out.
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You aren’t able to feel that you are surrounded by the steadfast love of the Lord. You get up in the morning and you can’t tell if His mercies are new for you today. It seems like everything is collapsing and you wonder why you can’t just get a hold of yourself. What do you do about this? How do you cope when you can’t find the answers to the questions that plague you? At a time like this–you need more than ever to just believe you will get through this…because the Word of God says so.
The test you are in at the present is always harder than any other one—or it wouldn’t be a true test. You don’t have to go back and repeat a test you already passed. It’s the areas you’ve never been tested in, or the test you failed last time—that you have to ‘take over’. So, you don’t want to fail this one. You don’t want to have to go through something like this again. You need to come out of it alive and you need to finish well. Even though you feel worn out—you’ve got to keep pressing through. You must choose to be surrounded by the steadfast love of the Lord. Oh, you are surrounded alright…but when you let negative thoughts invade your space—it creates a feeling of distance and detachment. When you are consumed by sorrow and you’re dwelling on the pain—it pushes back your consciousness of the love of God. Think of the love of the Lord as ‘light’ and think of sorrow and pain as ‘dark’. The Bible says that light and darkness can’t dwell together. The ‘light’ is pushed back when we choose the ‘dark’.
Those who are wicked have no real hope when sorrow comes. They haven’t chosen the ‘light’, so there is only ‘darkness’ for them. They don’t have the hope you have. When their time of sorrow comes, they allow it to make them even more bitter and resentful toward a God they haven’t ever truly trusted. Their sorrow seems to justify their lack of faith—but that line of thinking can’t lead them anywhere. What do they have to look forward to? At least you have your faith. You know God has been faithful to you in the past or you wouldn’t still be here. You can recall times when you thought you weren’t going to make it—but you did. That’s the kind of stuff you have to hold onto right now. Put that together with making a more conscious effort to choose the ‘light’ instead of the ‘dark’ and you will start to see progress.
Work on trying to be more tuned into your thoughts. It’s easy to just let your mind go for hours down a sorry road and lose all sense of time. Try to think more about time and what amount of time you are allowing your mind to randomly wander. Recognize that the love of the Lord does surround you. You can remove the distance by making better choices. When I have trouble consciously feeling the love of the Lord, I fix myself a cup of tea—or even sip warm water. I’ve been known to take a warm towel from the dryer and wrap it around my shoulders and neck—or stand under the shower head and let the hot water beat on my head to take the tenseness out of my mind and body. Occasionally, I play some music that will guide my thoughts in the right direction. In a nutshell—I fight back. You have to do that, too.
Declaration: I will find new strength in the light and love of the Lord. I will see sorrow as ‘clouds’. I will remember ‘clouds’ make light and love hard to feel. I choose not to go any further toward the dark. I will bask in the light and love of the Lord that surrounds me.
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