11 Ways Jesus Speaks into Your Sorrow
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2009 17 Jul
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Nancy Guthrie's new book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, (© Tyndale House).
Many experiences can leave you struggling with deep sorrow - a loved one's death, a job loss, a friend's betrayal, a serious medical diagnosis, and more. You may often find that the people around you simply don't know what to say to you in your sorrow. But Jesus does.
Jesus experienced great sorrow Himself during His time on earth. He cares about what you're going through, and He's not intimidated by the hard questions your sorrow has raised. If you listen to what Jesus has to say to you in your sorrow, you'll find the hope you need.
Here's how Jesus speaks into your sorrow:
"I, too, have known overwhelming sorrow." Jesus understands the crushing weight and agonizing loneliness of grief. He has something valuable to teach you as you struggle with sorrow - something you couldn't learn without going through it. Jesus promises to walk with you every step of the way through your sorrow, giving you the comfort and companionship you need.
SEE ALSO: Grief
"I, too, have heard God tell me ‘no.'" Jesus shows you what to do when God doesn't give you what you want. Even though Jesus was God's Son, God still said "no" to His passionate prayer to avoid dying on the cross. Ultimately, after wrestling with God's plan for His life, Jesus submitted to it because of His confidence in God's purposes - even when they conflicted with His own desires. When you recognize that God always chooses what's best - that when he answers "no" to your prayers, He isn't cruelly punishing you but is actually acting in love toward you - you can entrust your life to His plans without fear or resentment. Your suffering isn't wasted pain; it's a powerful tool to help you learn the value of obeying God.
"I am willing to heal your deadliest disease." Jesus knows what you need most of all. It isn't physical healing; it's spiritual healing. Whether or not Jesus chooses to heal a disease in your body, you'll eventually die anyway. But if you're afflicted by a disease in your soul - sin - you're suffering will be eternal if you don't invite Jesus to heal you. Fortunately, Jesus is willing to take the sickness of your sin upon Himself and transfer to you the healthy state of righteousness before God. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross offers you something much greater than healing from diseases that can destroy your temporary body. It offers you the greatest healing possible: healing from the sin that can destroy your eternal soul.
"I will save you from yourself." Jesus saves you from a wasted life of always trying to get your own way. Instead of being tyrannized by what you want and chasing after it constantly, you'll be free to pursue what will ultimately give you the most fulfillment - God's purposes for your life. Ironically, when you try to save your life, you end up losing it in pursuits that don't really matter. But if you let go of your own agendas, God's kingdom can advance through your life and make the world a better place. Leave a life of comfort behind and follow Jesus into a life of significance.
"I will keep you safe." Jesus protects you from eternal harm. Your eternal soul has much more value than the temporary life of your earthly body. While Jesus hasn't promised to protect your physical safety, He has promised to protect your soul for eternity. While Jesus won't necessarily protect your plans for your life, He will protect God's purposes for you to make sure that you experience the very best when you trust Him.
SEE ALSO: I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
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"I have a purpose in your pain." Jesus gives you insight when you ask, "Why?" Don't get stuck trying to figure out the cause of your suffering; that may not be revealed to you in this life. But you can discover the good purpose that will give your loss meaning and show others who are watching you how faith can make a positive difference in their own lives.
"I will give you a heart for forgiveness." Jesus empowers you to forgive people who don't deserve it. If you've received God's forgiveness for your own sin, you need to forgive your fellow sinners. You can count on Jesus to help you through the forgiveness process, giving you the strength to take each step, no matter how deeply people have hurt or offended you. Rather than focusing on how people don't deserve your forgiveness, focus on following God's command to forgive to free yourself from bitterness that poisons your soul. Trust God to bring about justice in each situation, as He has promised to do at the right time and in the right way.
"I am enough for you." Jesus provides what you need when you need it. Emptiness isn't necessarily bad; it's good when it motivates you to come to Jesus to be filled. When you pray again and again for relief from the pain in your life that doesn't come, Jesus promises that His presence and the strength He'll give you will be enough. Even when Jesus chooses not to take your pain away, He will give you the grace to endure it. Move from desperately seeking relief from your pain to seeking to grow as a person and glorify God in the midst of it.
SEE ALSO: Suffering and the Goodness of God
"I am giving life to those who believe in Me." Jesus asks you to believe that death is not the end of life. Depend on Jesus as your source of life both now and forever. Trust Him with your life in this world and in eternity after you leave this world. When you grieve the death of someone you have loved, remind yourself of Jesus' promises about heaven and look forward with joyful anticipation to the day that you'll be able to see that person again.
"I am in control of your life and your death." Jesus soothes your fear of death. He is in control of the beginning of your life, the end, and every day in between. You don't need to be afraid of your future, because it's in God's loving hands - and there's no better place for it to be. Trust God's timing for your life on earth and make the most of each day that He gives you.
"I will give you rest." Jesus opens His arms to you. He invites you to give Him the burden of sorrow that you've been carrying on your own. As you connect yourself to Jesus, He will do the heavy lifting in your sorrowful experiences so you can find the rest you need. Rely on Jesus' strength flowing through you to help you deal with anything that comes your way.
Adapted from Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, copyright 2009 by Nancy Guthrie. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill., www.tyndale.com.
Nancy Guthrie offered many of the lessons she learned from the loss of two infant children in her book, Holding On to Hope: A Pathway of Suffering to the Heart of God, which has helped thousands of people pursue God in the midst of their suffering. Nancy has also written The One Year Book of Hope, a daily devotional for people who are hurting or grieving, When Your Family's Lost a Loved One (with her husband, David), and Hoping for Something Better (a study of the book of Hebrews). The Guthries have seen God continue to use their loss to minister to other people going through loss in a variety of ways, including serving as co-hosts for a new production of the GriefShare video series. GriefShare is a 13-week video curriculum series that is used to facilitate weekly grief groups in more than 6,000 churches nationwide. Nancy speaks regularly at women's retreats and evangelistic events nationally and internationally. Nancy has worked in the Christian publishing industry for over twenty years as a publicist and special project editor. She currently handles media relations for CBA: The Association for Christian Retailers. Nancy and her husband, David, and son, Matt, make their home in Nashville, Tennessee.
Original publication date: July 17, 2009