Imagine your worst day ever, or perhaps you don’t have to imagine it. You’ve already faced your worst day. It was a day that you did not think you would survive. Perhaps the death of a loved one unexpectedly visited your home. Or maybe financial ruin crumbled life as you knew it. It could be that you are facing such a time right now.
To where do you turn in times of trial? For me, it is always helpful to have people in my life who have been through the same or similar fire to give me counsel. When my son Eddie was killed in Iraq nearly nine years ago, a woman named Debbie Lee came into Karen and my lives. She was a Gold Star Mom who lost her son Marc a year prior. She is like a sister to us. She has been a solid rock to lean on in trying times.
However, we do not just rely on each other. It is our abiding faith in Jesus Christ that carries us through not only our darkest days, but also through life’s everyday challenges. Whenever I feel like I am falling apart, I try to remember to turn to Scripture to seek refuge. Reading the life of Jesus in the Gospels helps me to realize I am not alone in my struggles. My Lord faced many a great challenge, none greater than the night He was betrayed:
“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)
Now I have indeed experienced moments of great agony, but I have never sweated drops of blood. What caused such great anguish in my Lord? Yes, He was facing a horrible execution and mocking; but that was not it. The thought of bearing the weight of all mankind’s sins is what brought such grief to Jesus. He knew His Father in Heaven could not look upon His Son in such a condition.
The sadness that grief brings into our lives can overwhelm us. It can bring us to a point of helplessness and hopelessness. We get to the point that we are ready to give up. It is at that moment that we need to pray the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
You might be thinking, that’s all fine and well; He was Jesus! Yes, but I look to my Savior for inspiration, just as I look to Scripture for understanding. Losing Eddie was not altogether a surprise; he was an Army Infantryman fighting in Iraq. We knew the dangers he faced every day. However, at times I struggled with understanding why I had to lose my only son. Every time I turned to God for answers, both in prayer and His word, He always answered:
“When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” (Psalm 73:16-17)
As I remember back on those days after receiving the news of Eddie’s death, I long for the closeness I had with the Lord. I understand that such a relationship with the Lord is always available. However, there seems to be a special attention that Jehovah-Rapha pays us while we are hurting. When turmoil is ready to overcome my life, I can turn to Jehovah-Shalom and the peace of heaven visits me. The times I feel so alone, Jehovah-Shammah lets me know He is with me. And when I see no way to carry on, Jehovah-Raah guides me.
It always seems that when life is crumbling down on me that Jesus’ light shines the brightest in my life. It’s best summed up by the words of Josh Wilson’s song “I Fall Apart,”
‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel You now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
And somehow still have all I need
God, I want to know You more
Maybe this is how it starts
I find You when I fall apart
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. As I come to the end of my sixth decade on earth, the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know.
But this one thing I do know. When I feel like life is falling apart, Jesus is close by if I will just reach out to Him in my weakness.
He is there for each of us.
Do you know Him?
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers