Everyone responds differently when life takes a significant detour.
Some folks complain or grow bitter. Others withdraw. Some resort to alcohol. Others look for the cloud’s silver lining. And some learn from their circumstances and then use their life lessons to help others in similar situations.
What’s the determining factor in whether or not we respond well to life’s tough stuff? I believe it’s where our focus lies at the time.
I recently visited friends whose 10-year-old son fell from a sixth-floor balcony to the concrete below in July. He suffered two fractured arms, a broken neck, back, pelvis, and tailbone. Blood filled his lungs for the first few days following the accident. Doctors told his parents to prepare for the worst. They also said, “We’ve done everything humanly possible for your boy. If you believe in miracles, now’s the time to ask God to send one.”
Two months later, this boy has returned home. He wears a brace to support his neck while it regains strength, and he’s starting to walk again. He’s a miracle in the making.
His mom and I enjoyed a heart-to-heart conversation. She told me how she stayed by her son’s bedside and provided nursing care for the two months he was hospitalized (Asian hospitals do things much differently than North American hospitals). During that time, she said, many folks visited and said things such as, “Your situation is so difficult. How can you possibly manage?” She credits her strength to the discipline of offering thanksgiving and praise.
Praise turns our focus from our circumstances to the One who controls them. It diminishes our fear by reminding us that God—all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving—holds us and controls every detail of our lives. We can rest in His wisdom and ways.
The psalmist said, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely” (Psalm 63:6-8 NLT).
Meditating on the character of God in the night hours—literally and figuratively speaking—reminds us that He’s in charge and fully capable of caring for us and our loved ones. It replaces fear with courage and confidence. It puts a song of joy in our hearts even when shadows fall.
I’ve witnessed my friend put this truth into action, and my heart’s been blessed. Let’s respond in kind when our turn comes so that we’ll encourage others, too.