Almost four years ago our oldest daughter left this earth. Having a child die brings many deep and intense emotions that cannot be described. Since that time I have connected with other parents who have also lost a child. One of the things this very unnatural and painful loss can cause is fear, on many levels.
We all go through trials and difficulties that can cause us to fight fear. I want to share with you a few things to help make a shift in how you see God in the midst of any fear caused by the pain of a tragedy, trauma, or severe difficulty in life.
1. Perspective can change everything.
It may not seem like it, but our perspective is a choice we make. You can choose to either hang on to a perspective that gives you lots of torment, or ask God to see your situation with a different set of eyes (hopefully His).I can either focus on my personal loss that my child is permanently absent from this earth, or I can focus on the fact that my child is absent from this earth but present with the Lord, and even though the pain is intense, I will meet up with my child again in our eternal home, never to be separated again.
2. Being able to take my needs and my fears to God in prayer makes a big difference in my life.
I think of Peter’s answer when Jesus asked His twelve followers, “Will you leave Me also?” Peter said, “Lord, who else can we go to? You have words that give life that lasts forever” (John 6:68 NLV). For many years I have said Jesus isn’t a crutch to me. He is my wheelchair. That is truer now than it has ever been.
It keeps me from feeling so helpless in a circumstance I have no control over. Praying gives me much more control over how I respond to my feelings and fears. It may be that the only thing I have control over is my communication with God, but that is actually enough.
3. Having the revelation that God always leads us into triumph makes a huge dent in our fears.
During a worship song at church one day, I suddenly realized that if I bring God into my battle (including the battle of my fears and my darkness) then I will win, because it is impossible for Him to lose! He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8). God has the first and last word in my life, and He also has it in the life of my child! God has never entered a battle where He came out as the loser, and He never will. As soon as I ask God to fight for me, I know somehow in the end I will come out victorious!
4. Reading the book of Psalms in the Bible can be extremely helpful.
Over and over the writer cries out for help from a very dark place of despair. And God responds by being a rock, a refuge and help in times of need. I spend a lot of time there when I “relapse” and find myself struggling with the pain and reality that Becca is gone and I won’t see her again until I join her in heaven.
5. Don’t keep looking back, allowing yourself to be paralyzed by the pain of the past, trying to stay in a place which no longer exists.
I am so sorry to say this, and I am not trying to be cruel, but simply want to set you free; no matter how much you want your life to go back to the way it was before your tragedy (such as my wanting my daughter’s life back) it isn’t going to happen.
When I did that, God reminded me of Lot’s wife. When she looked back to the tragedy she was leaving, she died immediately, being frozen (turned into a pillar of salt) to that place (Genesis 19:26). That is an extreme example, but continuing to look back, longing for the past that no longer exists will become a tormenting fear which will paralyze you from going forward. God told me not to keep looking back at my crushing blow, and if I continued to look back to ponder and relive the death of my daughter, I would not be able to walk in the power of His resurrection life.
The solution? Here is what I wrote in my journal as I heard God speak to me: Receive it! Just receive this new life I am giving you. You will grow stronger in it each day you come up to Me to drink. Drink daily. Drink deeply. For it will truly be a wellspring of life in you and through you. Cross over from death to life! Cross over from sorrow into joy! Cross over into new depths of My love and My will and My ways for your life.
Next week we will look at the last two ways to shift from fear to faith. In the meantime, what is something God is showing you His perspective on in your life that is giving you freedom from fear?
Note: This was adapted from Laura’s book When Tragedy Strikes which will be available in bookstores everywhere in July 2016. Click here for more information.