When we suffer the loss of a loved one despite our fervent prayers for their healing, a devastating sense of disappointment and distrust in God’s goodness can grip our hearts. This compounds the already overwhelming pain that we feel. In his superb book “The Essential Guide to Healing” author and pastor Bill Johnson offers four crucial perspectives to all who feel betrayed and broken in heart, mind and spirit.
- Be Honest with God
Bare your soul and weep before the Lord in all raw honesty. Share all your searing pain, anger and broken-heartedness with your Maker. Do not rush this process; allow yourself the time you need to lay broken at His feet. Pastor Johnson shares a prayer that may go something like this:
Father, I know You are good and that You never lie or abandon your children. But it sure feels and looks to me as if You did. It looks as if You didn’t keep your promises to me. I know my perception is wrong because You are always good. I need You to help me. Please heal my heart and strengthen me according to Your Word. Please deliver me quickly.
- Listen to God
Pastor Johnson recommends going to the psalms where every strand of human suffering, anguish, joy, healing, and praise can be found. He reads over these until he finds his heart’s cry reflected in one or more of its passages. At this point, he asks us to pause and allow the Words and Spirit of the Lord to commune with our heart. He invites us to allow them to soak in, comfort, strengthen, and guide us.
- Receive the Peace
Keep pouring out your heart to God, day after day, night after night until His peace begins to invade your soul. Realize that you may need to give up understanding why things happened as they did. During times of extreme anguish, it is natural to focus on what God didn’t do than what He might be doing. Even John the Baptist who prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus on this earth began to doubt the Lord when He was not rescuing him from prison as he expected. Jesus directed John’s attention away from what wasn’t happening in his own circumstances to what He was doing: “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Luke 7:22) He also gave this counsel: “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:6)
Taking offense, Johnson warns, leads to doubt and unbelief in God’s character and motives. At this moment, we fall into agreement with the demonic realm that is always trying to “kill, steal and destroy” by bringing the nature of God’s character and purposes into question. We must have ruthless trust in our Savior’s goodness even when we do not understand what He is doing or why.
- Be Thankful
Through your tears and heartbreak, can you find things to thank and praise God for? As you pursue your own heart’s healing and restoration, allow an attitude of thankfulness, however small at first, to permeate your spirit daily. Find those Scriptures, Psalms and Words that wash over you, bring comfort, encouragement, and hope, remembering that even when we cannot see it or feel it, God is “working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
God bless you, dear ones. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you until you can again be restored in body, mind and spirit and declare with joy and praise that you are Healed, Healthy and Whole!