This article is written by Sheryl Aeschliman for the Deeply Rooted Devotional series. To submit a guest blog, click here.
The phone call. The loss. The betrayal. The diagnosis. The rejection. At some point, we all have been thrown into the deep end of suffering and trial. You are not alone. Do you feel like you are drowning in your pain right now? Are you wondering how you can endure intense struggling and keep breathing when the waves come crashing in? Here are 3 keys to staying deeply rooted in your faith while the storm rages.
Key #1. Stay Deeply Rooted in Prayer
You are called to pray instead of ponder.
There is a major difference between praying to the Lord and pondering the painful circumstances and problems. I don’t know if you are anything like me, but when trouble hits I can imagine the worst-case scenario in .02 seconds flat. I know I am not the only one that has imagined ridiculous drama in my mind. (Like getting laid off your job automatically means you will be a penniless, nomadic goat farmer in the Himalayan mountains, right?) While losing your job is a big deal, spending time ruminating on a variety of what-ifs and worst-case scenarios generally makes matters worse. Yes, there is a huge difference between true prayer with your heavenly Father and pondering things that will likely never happen. One speaks to the God of the Universe that can move mountains and the other…well, doesn’t.
Intense suffering drives us to look for relief, makes us desperately ache for a sense of inner calmness, and cling to anything for stability. The world can not offer any of those things, but God does. Prayer is the balm for the hurting soul. Being honest with God is what keeps you rooted in the most intense struggle. It gives hope! It doesn’t have to be long or fancy to get the job done, either. The most earnest prayer from a sincere, humble heart can simply be, “God, help me.”
Whatever He has declared over you in His word is true. Pray about it. Claim the promise. Trust it and rest in His grace. He is not done working to bring about His desired outcome. He wants you to talk to Him about it, and He is available anytime. (See Romans 8:26)
Taking it deeper: Read Scripture! Ask God to show you how to pray. Ask another person to be a prayer partner. Set aside 5 minutes to read through a Psalm and turn it into a prayer. Write out a prayer, or Bible verse on a small notecard. Place it on your mirror, car dash or office desk as a prayer prompt.
Key #2. Stay Deeply Rooted in Worship
We are called to worship instead of wallow.
When suffering becomes unbearable your sweet Lord gives you the beauty of worship. Instead of dwelling on your pain, He gently asks you to look up and gaze on His goodness and provision instead. (Read Psalm 121:1-8 for the encouragement!)
He calls His children to lay down worry and anxiety to soak in who He is and all that He does through praise and worship. When you close your eyes, Jesus takes you to a sacred place where your wounding becomes your resting. Worship is a way to release your suffering into His capable hands and be deeply rooted in the assurance He is present in your pain. It is God’s love language with you. (See Colossians 3:16)
Worship is more than just music! Worship is honoring God in your actions each and every moment! Wallowing in the suffering prevents you from sharing your testimony, serving in your community and living a life of victory.
Taking it deeper: Read Scripture! Listen only to worship music for 30 days. Volunteer at a local shelter, crisis pregnancy center, or teach Sunday school.
Key #3. Stay Deeply Rooted in Communion
You are called into communion instead of contention.
The Lord identifies with you because He suffered, too. He felt the sting of deep rejection, the loneliness of being misunderstood, the sucker-punch of betrayal, and a physically broken body. Trials were not meant to push you away from God, but to identify you with Him.
In a season of deep trial, it is easy to push God and others away. Fighting the Lord and those around you at the same time is exhausting. Trying to white-knuckle life or pull yourself up by the bootstraps creates bitterness and resentment, not to mention deep loneliness. Becoming a maverick or martyr in your trial was never the Lord’s intention and it is neither helpful nor necessary. His word calls you into communion with Him through prayer and worship but also calls you to connect to other believers as well.
Most physical or emotional suffering comes thickly padded with lies from the enemy. Lies can not be in the presence of a holy God. Scripture says that when 2 or 3 are gathered together He is there. (See Matthew 18:20) Fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters creates an impenetrable fortress of safety and truth. Having a small group of fellow believers who are committed to each other and to your victory is priceless. Close connection and communion not only will encourage you, but also will hold you accountable on the days or weeks that you feel like giving up.
Taking It deeper: Read Scripture! Regularly attend a grace-based, gospel-centered church that has Biblical teaching. Join a Bible study online or in person. Step out and join a support group. Find an accountability partner.
Prayer, worship, and communion are 3 keys to staying deeply rooted in your time of suffering. God has not left you on this big spinning ball to figure it out on your own. He is right there with you. He is committed to working everything out for your good and His glory.
Sheryl Aeschliman is the founder of Simply Scripture’s online Bible study community and author of numerous women’s Bible studies using her Simply Color© color code. Her writing and speaking are sprinkled with honesty, humor, and encouragement while digging out deep biblical concepts that practically apply to daily life.