Vale of TearsShock and Guilt in the Aftermath of Loss (i)
Shock and Guilt in the Aftermath of Loss (i)
Jacob said to his sons, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!”
Have you ever lain awake at night, or woken early in the morning, echoing Jacob’s words in your heart and feeling that everything is against you?
Deep down you know that it is not unusual for God’s children to go through times of extreme loss, from Jacob’s day right through to people like Corrie Ten Boom, who lost her entire family to the cruelty of the Nazi war machine. Nevertheless, you struggle to understand why so much suffering has come your way, and find yourself working hard not to let anxiety hold you back from proper risk taking. Or you find yourself going to the opposite extreme and becoming reckless, caring too little what happens to you.
Those who have experienced rape, burglary, assault, or some other physical or verbal threat, know only too well how the memory of these shocks can dominate not only your waking moments but surface again in your dream life. Wherever there is any crack in your spiritual or psychological armour, fear will attempt to slither though – and once fear takes root in the soul, the ramifications are enormous. You dread going out, the door being left open, the phone or doorbell ringing, the post arriving . . . No part of life remains untouched.
The Lord can give you grace to handle your “real” fears, as well as to cope with the underlying insecurities that make you susceptible to allowing a foothold to anxiety. If some generational sin or weakness has opened the way for your fears to “attract” dark powers, then by far the best response is to seek appropriate prayer from someone experienced in this field. As quickly as possible!
Reflect and Pray
I mentioned the example of Corrie Ten Boom a moment ago. She alone of her family survived the horrors of Belsen concentration camp, from which she was mercifully released – by a clerical error(!) – just days before she was scheduled to be killed. How easily she could have breathed a sigh of relief and settled down to rebuild her life in the aftermath of such intense trauma.
Instead, inspired by the vision her sister had received before she died in the camp, Corrie set out to minister to people who were suffering acutely, to tell them what Jesus can do for broken people. Only eternity will reveal how many people owe their salvation to Corrie rising to the challenge of such a sacrificial lifestyle, rather than pulling down the shutters and leading a safe and spinsterly existence.
Lord Jesus, shocks and setbacks come in life,
but we are asking You to find ways to turn them around
and to make good use of them to propel us forward in Your service.
Inspire us with the same determination that Corre Ten Boom had,
to fulfil the vision that You have given us.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.