Great loss is often followed by overwhelming despondency. Those who lose loved ones often experience this kind of debilitating grief. They feel as if their hearts were ripped out. Everything in life becomes more painful and difficult.
This kind of feeling visits us when faced with severe circumstances beyond our control. When a loved one is suffering without hope of cure, or a marriage is ending and all efforts to save it have failed, people often experience disabling grief.
An ancient proverb says, “A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14).
Life can be sad. Certain types of emotional or physical losses drain the joy and beauty out of life. We can find ourselves asking questions that seem to have no answers. We feel like we are going through the motions just to make it through a day.
When loneliness and hopelessness become traveling companions, there is a feeling that no one understands.
Sometimes we’re not ready to receive comfort because our wounds are too tender. We need time. But life requires that we press on. So we go through our days as emotionless machines. We do what must be done, but the simple joys and pleasures are gone. It is as if someone stole our spirit. Emptiness, distance and detachment become the norm. Broken hearts and crushed spirits are hard to heal.
Where can we find hope and healing when feeling crushed under the weight of unspeakable pain?
As time passes, we must allow ourselves to recieve comfort and healing. Sometimes God uses people with similar experiences to help us. We should be grateful for all who sympathize and do their best to understand, but those who have endured similar grief are uniquely equipped to comfort. We can always find someone who has endured comparable loss and pain. We can also always find those who have suffered more than us.
A big question sufferers struggle with is how God relates to their suffering. Many find it difficult to turn to God. In the midst of pain and loss, they don’t understand God. Sometimes they feel angry at God for allowing them or someone they love to suffer. Suffering people question God’s love and power. God seems distant and unconcerned. Their outlook toward God is clouded by unanswered questions, doubts and feelings of resentment.
Unfortunately, this alienation from God only multiplies suffering because it cuts off the greatest source of comfort. God knows what it is like to suffer and feel great loss. Scripture refers to him as “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (II Corinthians 1:3).
As hard as it may be to understand, God knows how it feels to suffer. More than that, the one who became our Savior suffered unspeakably. He is able to help us when we suffer (see Hebrews 2:18). If you are suffering, and feel that no one understands, I invite you to turn to the God who knows what it feels like to suffer. He invites you to come to Him, through his Son, Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:3-6).
Receive God’s love and comfort and refuse to allow yourself to become bitter toward the only lasting source of hope and healing.
See also: Overcoming Discouragement