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/.