The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened. Job 3:25 (The Msg)

Ever gone through day or a period in your life when absolutely EVERYTHING seems to go wrong? I don’t just mean little things like burning your toast in the morning, being late to work because you were stuck in traffic or having a flat tire on the interstate in a driving rain.

These are difficult things to go through but nothing compared to Job. He’d lost his children, his wealth, the position of respect in his community and his health. Even his wife had withdrawn from him at his deepest time of need. He was all alone and in physical, emotional and spiritual agony. To top things off he had three visitors who claimed to be friends. They took on the self-appointed position of judge, pointing out all the things that they knew about how ‘wrong Job was’!

While few of us have ever gone through the devastation Job endured there are times in our lives when things are so bad that we are unsure that we will be able to go on. The death of a dearly loved family member or friend; the end of a relationship in which you thought ‘everything was fine’; financial collapse; watching a loved one die of some disease, or finding out you are dying from some disease. All of these and more can cause us to lose all hope in ourselves, God or others.

While there aren’t any easy, quick fixes to the pain and despair that life deals us, there are a few things that may help ease the pain for a time.

  • Don’t instantly blame yourself. Job lived a nearly perfect life in God’s eyes yet endured unheard of pain. Take stock of the situation. Sometimes we have to admit that the things we are going through are consequences to our own choices. Ask Jesus to forgive you for your part and to give you strength to make it through the time of ‘discipline’ we call consequences.
  • Realize that sometimes the pain we go through has nothing to do with us. It could be God’s way of strengthening us for the challenges we face tomorrow. It could be God’s way of empowering us to help those who have gone through similar devastation.
  • Listen carefully to friend’s advice and measure it up against what you know. Sometimes even the most well-meaning friends are just plain wrong! Even pastors and spiritual leaders can be wrong sometimes. True, Christ-following friends won’t be critical or harsh. They will love you and support you and gently walk with you through the darkness.
  • Don’t just go looking for people to agree with you. But remember that it is God who judges and He alone knows the reason for your pain. Continue to grow in your relationship with Him. Don’t abandon Him. In the darkest night He is the only true light.
  • Most importantly, in spite of your pain and anger and despair, don’t turn your back on God. Even though things seem impossibly painful God DOES love you and has the power to see you through anything, ANYTHING life throws at you.  Talk to Him. Read His love letter to us (the Bible). Ask Him for wisdom and strength to make it through life’s challenges.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’m about at the end of my strength. I’ve even thought of just ending it all because I’m not sure I can go on. You say you are there and I want to believe it but sometimes the darkness is too overwhelming. Please help me to see you in all this. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to sense the peace and love that passes all understanding. Right now I need to feel your love. Amen.