The emotional grief and distress that trials bring is only temporary; by responding to it with a right attitude we will develop a more Godly character and the outcome will be of far greater and lasting value than we can currently comprehend (1 Pet 1:6,7). This confidence of relief and future benefit enables us to “count it all joy” and see situations in a truer perspective, with an understanding of what they will result in if we choose to co-operate (Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4). We live in an imperfect world and life has many heartaches, but remember these can’t separate us from the love of God or rob us of our eternal destiny (Rom 8:31-39). God uses adversity to make us more like Christ (Rom 8:29; Heb 12:10).
Continually thinking about hurts and perceived problems results in negative thoughts and emotions and can lead to depression, which is the result of only thinking about the cause, and not considering the solution – aligning with Jesus. Keep things in true perspective by considering Who and what is for us and what has ‘gone right’ rather than the odd thing against us (Heb 13:5; 1 Jn 4:4). We can choose to succumb to defeat or fight to achieve victory.
Count your blessings to dispel your misery
central focus of our lives. Rather than thinking about the negative, disappointing aspects look for the good in each situation. We can’t stop the bad from happening however we do have control over our response. In the midst of his intense calamities Job declared, “May the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21). Why not stop now, focus on the blessings you have and spend some time genuinely praising God by ‘putting on the garment of praise’ instead of the spirit of despair (Isa 61:3).
Turn your focus away from you
(Ps 39:7; Phil 4:6,7). Challenge the attitude of your heart “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” and follow through with the antidote “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Ps 42:5,6,11, 43:5). The rich man knew what he should do but didn’t do it. He did not change because, with his self-centred attitude, he was under the control of his possessions and so continued to be sad (Mk 10:22). Selfishness is reflected in being more concerned about our tiny world and how things affect us personally than the big, real world that others live in too; it is more interested in the immediate rather than the long-term and what God’s purposes are. Is the issue that is causing me to be sad really a major thing when compared to the heartache and burdens some carry?
Then engage in some form of physical activity as this will lift your spirit as does doing something helpful to another.
Nehemiah was sad, on account of his nation, for the city of God (Jerusalem) together with the temple were in ruins, yet he did not wallow in this predicament and allow this to be the end of the story (Neh 1:3,4, 2:1-3). In faith he reached out beyond his own incapability – “Then I prayed to God” – and upon asking his master (the king), who through divine providence showed generous favour, Nehemiah was strategically involved in the rebuilding (Neh 2:4,5, 6:15). With empathy we can identify and help others to discover solutions to their heartaches too.