How to Stay Strong in Waves of Bad News

How to Stand Strong in Waves of Bad News

Worship helps us be okay with not understanding God’s ways and to rest in knowing that, in His time, He will bring beauty from the broken pieces of our lives. 

Have you ever experienced waves of bad news?

I have, more than once, and it’s been happening again in the past two weeks. First, a dear friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A few days later, a 62-year-old cousin lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.

A few hours after I received that news, a friend fighting the big C told me that he can no longer tolerate his chemotherapy. Within 36 hours, I learned about another friend who just hit a significant challenge in her fight with a brain tumor. And then two more deaths.

My heart wants to cry, “Enough already!”

Job experienced waves of bad news

As these waves of bad news roll in, I’m developing greater empathy for Job. First, an enemy nation stole his oxen and donkeys and killed his farmhands. Within minutes of learning about this loss, he received word that fire destroyed his sheep and shepherds.

The bearer of that bad news hadn’t even finished speaking when another guy showed up to say that raiders stole Job’s camels and killed those farmhands. And then came the most difficult: a windstorm collapsed the house where Job’s children were feasting, and the accident claimed their lives. (Job 1:13-19)

The emotional force of those waves might have turned a lesser man against God. But not Job. He rode those waves neither by getting angry nor running away, but by taking intentional action of another sort. 

Worship and the waves

After waves of bad news swamped Job, he gave himself the space to grieve, and he worshiped God. (Job 1:20) He didn’t thank God for the tragic events, but he acknowledged His sovereignty and praised His name. 

As we follow Job’s example, we’ll give ourselves the grace and the space to grieve our losses. We’ll also choose to worship: we praise God for His presence with us, His faithfulness to us, His watchful care over us, and His strong hand of support under us. 

This is how I ride the waves

Wave upon wave of bad news could easily swamp my little boat, but with God’s help, I’m learning to ride them instead. I find it helpful to begin each morning in the attitude of worship. I rise early to spend time in the Word, listening for God’s voice and basking in His stillness. This keeps my focus where it needs to be–on God and His promises.

I also find it helpful to take a walk ‘n talk with Jesus. Spending time with Him outdoors works like therapy for the soul. Sometimes those walks are only ten minutes long; sometimes they’re more like forty. The length doesn’t matter, but the conversation does.

Listening to praise and worship music is another form of therapy for me. When I’m preparing a meal, I listen to the local Christian radio station. I do the same when I drive to the gym or to the grocery store. Little snippets of worship music tune my heart to sing God’s praise.

Worship won’t necessarily change our circumstances, but it changes us. Focusing on the face of God reminds us of His nearness and His promises to give us strength and peace. It helps us be okay with not understanding His ways and purposes and to rest in knowing that, in His time, He will bring beauty from the broken pieces of our lives. 

PS: Take a few minutes to listen to the worship song I’ve included for you. It’s especially meaningful to me because the worship team sang it as the opening to my cousin’s memorial service. Close your eyes, focus on the words, and let them lead you into the spirit of worship to our good, wise, and sovereign God.

How about you?

What waves are walloping you at this time? They might not be of a life-and-death nature, but that doesn’t diminish their significance in your life. Allow yourself to grieve your losses and then, following Job’s example,  name one thing for which you can worship God today. 

Know you are loved,

Grace

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12 Comments

  1. Thank You Grace. Your words are encouragement to my mind and the song included was soothing to my soul. I appreciate you very much.
    Emily Gibson

    1. Hi Emily! I’m so glad you found this post encouraging. And the song? It ministered so deeply to my heart as I listened to it sung at my cousin’s service that I just knew I needed to pass it on. Have a wonderful day, and know you are loved.

  2. Soothing and so worshipful. Thank you Grace. I’m sorry for all your waves of losses. So grateful we have a merciful and gracious Abba Father who loves us so deeply.

    1. Hi Robin:

      Thank you for your kind words. Judging by the comments and emails I’ve received since the blog posted, there are lots of other people being pounded by the waves of hardship and grief. I could have added another half dozen to the list I mentioned at the beginning…two more added in one conversation with a loved one on Sunday evening. It just feels like craziness somedays. Maintaining an attitude of worship is the only way to stay strong. I agree–I’m so grateful for a gracious Father who loves us deeply.
      Know you are loved,
      Grace

  3. I cannot believe how timely this devotion was and what an excellent reminder to worship God despite the circumstances surrounding us. So much going on in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives with loss of a beloved pet, loss of job, financial difficulties, relationship issues, and more. Wonderful song full of praise to the One who is, the One who was, the One who is to come!

    1. Hi Catherine:

      Thanks for posting about your own situation here. I totally “get” that sense of being pounded, so I empathize fully with you. I’m glad you found the song meaningful. Let’s keep our eyes and hope fixed on Jesus. He is our rock.

      Know you are loved,
      Grace

    1. Hi Carol:

      This song is one that I could play over and over and over, letting it wash my mind from worries and bring strength and courage to my heart. I’m glad you found it meaningful. I pray that it will strengthen your heart, too. You “get” what the pounding waves feel like.

      Know you are loved,
      Grace

  4. It was lovely to have a coffee with you and although I am in Australia I felt so close to you in the spirit. Our days can be overwhelming at times and as I read your thoughts I was reminded of the encouraging words in Isa 43:2 “when you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you, when you walk through the fire you not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. These verses have been a source of comfort over the years and May they encourage you. Have a blessed day Grace. ❤️🙏💐

    1. Hi from the other side of the world, Rosemary. Thank you for taking time to stop by and share Isaiah 43:2 with me and other readers. It truly is a beautiful, life-giving verse and ideal for this post. Interesting — it doesn’t say, If you pass through the water or rivers or fire.” It says, “When….” Those seasons when waves of bad news pound us are no surprise to the Lord. We are so blessed to know His presence is with us in those places.

      Know you are loved,
      Grace
      P.S. I hope you pop in for coffee again 🙂

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