It had been weeks that I had been despairing deep within. I looked at my surroundings and nothing was changing. All I could see were the same four walls. Yet it seemed they were closing in. On bed-rest, attached to IV’s, and in continuous pain, nothing about me resembled my usual self.
My strength was failing. Sorrow was all I could taste. Hope was more than I could bear. I didn’t know what the next day would bring, but I couldn’t stand more of the same.
There were days that felt like a blur of indistinct activity. I knew hours passed because the sun had risen and set, yet I couldn’t tell you any of the detail in between.
Life went on for everyone else. They continued with work and school and their families. Meanwhile, I felt useless, not able to carry on my usual productive routine. I felt like I had failed…myself, my family, even God. So much for the Super Woman exterior I always tried to portray.
Others said they were thinking of me. That they were praying.
Were they really? I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t feeling any better. And shamefully, if I was honest with myself, hadn’t I promised to pray for others in the past and then forgotten? I too had told people I was “thinking about” others before, and I had, but what did that mean, really? Now I really wondered. Really.
We are encouraged in scripture, “When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow.” (Romans 12:15)
The sorrow I felt was different from anything I had ever known before. What started as very intense physical, medically-induced pain, led to soul-churning despair. As my physical energy was depleted, so was my emotional reserve.
Friends and family didn’t know how to respond. They were unaccustomed to seeing me in anything other than my driven, take-charge, “can-do” mentality. Instead, they saw a very fragile physical shell, grasping to hold on to the desire to try to find my way back to any likeness of my former self.
But there was one thing I knew that they didn’t. If I was going to fight for my physical and emotional health to return, I didn’t want to be left unchanged. I prayed repeatedly that this torment that I endured would not be wasted and that the Lord would use this experience to draw me closer to Him, AND to help someone else.
I am so grateful to God to be able to tell you, He has not left me unchanged. That painful experience changed and challenged me in many ways I couldn’t have expected. It tested my faith and made me seek truth. It made me confront God on some hard issues. It made me put my trust in God and not in people. And even before the IV’s were removed, it gave me a chance to comfort others who were in pain, and really pray for them when I promised I would.
No pain is wasted. God used my pain to help others. And he will use yours in ways you can’t even imagine.
To this day, if I tell you I will pray for you, I will–not just once, or twice, but every time I think of you, or the Lord puts you on my heart, or until you tell me you have seen an answer to your situation. Because I know how important it is to be happy with those who are happy, and to share in the sorrow of those who are in pain!
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Is there someone you can be that friend to today?
Are you the one in need of a comforting friend today?
Will you allow me to pray for you?
Father, I know what it feels like to be in the depths of despair and to feel alone. I pray for this dear one who is in need of the comfort of a friend. Will you please provide for his/her needs today. Will you provide a friend to walk this journey with him/her? In the meantime, you have sent the ultimate comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit. Go into the depths of their despair with your soothing balm, and give your peace that truly passes all understanding. I thank you for meeting our needs even now. Amen.
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
i really needed to read that right now, thank you
I’m glad it touched you. I hope you’ll come by again, often. Hope Prevails, truly!
Thank you Isabelle!
Thanks for your transparency…
How can we truly help others in their time of need when prayer simply doesn’t seem like “enough”? I really feel like I failed you in your deepest struggle but I don’t know what I could have done differently.
Also, how do you effectively minister to someone else when your own heart and soul are drowning in despair? Some good things for me to ponder here! Love you, dear treasured cousin and friend.
Sue, as humans we all “fail” each other, in that only God can meet all our needs. I wanted people to meet my needs, but God wanted me to see that He needed to be my source. BUT, we are called to bear one another’s burdens, laugh with those who laugh, weep with those who weep.
When our own heart and soul are drowning in despair, perhaps that is when we pray and ask that God will provide someone to step in and bridge the gap until we can be there again. He doesn’t require us to be all things to all people.
Sometimes prayer is all we can practically do, and when that is the case, we must pray, and then not apologize that it is “all” we can do-it is the most powerful thing we can do.
And for the record, you have never once in your life failed me. You have been there for me when no one else was. You’ve forgiven me, and you’ve never judged me. I love you! Hope Prevails!
Michelle~ You are precious and you are loved! I’m so thankful God saw fit to place us in the same family!!
So very well written and I loved what you said about how the pain is the thing that brings you closer to God because no human can understand what you are feeling when they are all used to you being super human.
God can use any situation for our good and His glory Faydra. We may not like the situation at the time – I certainly didn’t! But, we have to trust that we have but a small snapshot when He paints the entire canvas.
Powerful, poignant and beautifully written! Prayer is essential, and I like praying for people, not just once but every time I think of them. There is always something you can lift to God for or about a person, right? Thanks for bringing your story to us today. Ended up here from 500 Words group.
Thank you Sherrey! There is power in prayer. We struggle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities… and when God brings someone to mind, He may be giving us the privilege of joining in the battle for that person. Hope Prevails!
What a powerful testimony of God’s love and sustaining power. The epitome of ” For we know all things works together for our good. Your comments about praying made me think of how Job at the conclusion of his testing prayer for his friends, they were healed and he was restored. I’m sure he was not the same either. I like your comment of not wasting the pain. Your ministry to those who read your post or you see in your office are blessed and gain healing through your restored life. Blessings
Robin, Thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment. I smile as I read your comment about Job…I am very sure that Job had no idea how many lives his trials would impact. His trials and his endurance through them impacted me during mine! I pray God will use my pain to comfort others! Hope Prevails!
Thank you for your honesty which translated to hard-won wisdom for me. I am so grateful that in your pain you were able to partner with God to learn and grow and minister. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, SO THAT we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:3). So glad I visited from Wednesday Prayer Girls today!
I am thrilled that you visited and took the time to comment Kim! It’s a great encouragement to me. God’s word is truth. Our trials do produce perseverance. And while that may not seem like a treasured outcome when we are in the middle of a trial, I am grateful for it so that I will be better able to handle the next trial. It IS my desire to comfort OTHERS with the very same comfort I have been given! I hope you’ll come by often! Bring a friend. The more, the merrier. Hope Prevails.
I have asked the Lord to change me, to not let me stay the same, through a rough, painful season. I know he has and I trust He will continue the changes. Thank you for sharing with us!
Cathy, the Lord will not turn away the earnest cries of His children. Lasting change is a slow process, and growth comes from walking through the rough, painful seasons. He won’t let you stay the same, because He wants to use you as a testimony for His glory. Keep asking and then thanking Him for HIs answers! Hope Prevails!
Sweet Michelle, I’m so happy to hear how the Lord worked through your pain. Know that, when I said I was praying, I did, and still do. You’re a special lady and I hate that you’ve had to suffer so much, and yet, I’ve been there too. What’s that saying? What doesn’t break us makes us stronger? I hear strength in your powerful words of wisdom, and in the pain you suffered.
Danie, I truly know that many who said they were praying, did pray, often and fervently. Yet the situation made me re-evaluate my own commitment to others when I offer to pray for them, as well as to recognize the inherent value of offering that gift. So often we say “I wish there was more I could do,” and yes, if there is something else God lays on our hearts to physically do for another, we should do it. But we should not apologize when “all” we can do is pray – that is the highest privilege and the most powerful gift we can offer. My desire now is to share the comfort with others that I was given. For truly, my friend, Hope Prevails!
Sweet Michelle, I remember those days and praying from afar. So thankful for the friendship God has given me with you and other godly women. Thank you for your encouraging words. I needed this today as I slog through the stress of change. I’m holding fast to the One who never changes knowing that through HIM “I can do all things. . . “