Suffering from What if

A nasty enemy lurks wherever suffering, pain, and grief invade our lives. The enemy of fear attacks, usually unbidden, in the form of asking a series of “What if” questions. What if I had seen a doctor sooner? Gone with a more/less aggressive treatment? Been more in touch with my kids? Had not let my kids associate with the kids infected with polio, involved with partying? Had/Had not had surgery?I believe there’s a good reason so many Bible verses bid us “Fear not.” The Lord knows how often we need to hear that command, but to hear the directive couched in the comfort of His character and purposes for us.

Yet, to be honest, “fear not” certainly is not always my initial response, even though I know treasures await in eternity.

As wayward sheep, we stumble and stray. We doubt! Yes, solid and mature as our faith may be, we experience doubt and fear… especially when suffering intensifies or grief scars are torn open again by an unexpected memory, or someone’s thoughtless remark. What healthy ways can we exercise to fight this enemy?

Elisabeth Elliot’s famous directive, “Do the next thing,” often aids those able to take on a physical task. Prayer, Bible verses, conversations with friends, music, silence, walks, exercise, can all offer help. As I mature (you can read that more accurately as age), I want to make one suggestion based on watching ants!

What? Yes, ants. They industriously store food in the summer because winter is coming. (Prov. 6:6 and 30:25). Here’s the ants’ message: sustain during the hard times, learn in the easy times. Take a Bible course, join an inductive Bible study, schedule a time to regularly pray, use a hymnal or praise music as you walk or sit in a chair. Memorize scripture.

Jesus told us we would encounter trials in this world; they will come. Thankfully, He also said he had overcome the world.

If you are currently mid-struggle, please do not surrender. It’s not too late, but more about that next time.

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