5 Spiritual Keys to Help You Cope with Disease or Disaster

During moments of strife and ‘dis-ease’, check your flow and redirect your focus to that which is naturally good. ~ T.F. Hodge

It would be wonderful if life just flowed along like a bubbling brook in summer – all sunshine and warm feelings. But …

You always know there will be a BUT, don’t you? Life is like that. Disease, divorce, disaster strikes. All of a sudden that little brook becomes a raging rapid, pushing everything in its path downstream. You feel like you’re caught in a whirlpool or a hurricane of negative emotions, physical challenges and mental overload. The problems beat around in your head like tree limbs whipped by the torrent.

Maybe your spouse asked for a divorce. Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Maybe you have to put your life on hold to be a care-giver. What can you do?

Seek peace.

Still your thoughts of anxiety and fear. Let God’s peace wash over you. Imagine it like rain, a warm Florida rain, clean and crisp. Subtle at first, then wetter, steadier, more refreshing.

Each time you start to feel anxious or upset, step into the rain. You know how good it feels when you’re working outside in the garden – and a summer shower starts. Cool. Refreshing. A blessing, as it nourishes and refreshes everything! Peace is like that.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) You are responsible to keep  your heart free from turmoil. Hanging on to your peace is something you can do, something you can control, even when the rest of the situation is out of your control.

Stay calm.

Have you noticed over the years that people feed off other people’s emotions? If your spouse gets upset or depressed, pretty soon, you are too. Or it might be a co-worker, friend or family member. Negative emotions create a domino effect. So do positive emotions.

If you keep yourself calm and reassuring, those around you will eventually pick up on that. You stay calm the same way you keep your peace – by talking to yourself. “I will not be troubled. Jesus gave me His peace. I am redeemed from the curse of anxiety and fear. I receive Jesus’ peace. I am calm.”

It’s not unusual to sedate a patient because of disorientation and pain. The physician wants to keep the patient calm. Calmness helps healing and comfort. Breathing and heart rates normalize, muscles relax. Thoughts slow, allowing you to process information more clearly.

If you are a patient or a care-giver, let the medical profession do what they do best – knowing that God has ordained health care professions for that purpose. Pray for them to be guided in wisdom and compassion and to be strengthened to do what most of us would consider a very difficult job.

Fear Not.

Fear is always the devil’s tool. It is sneaky, trying to insert itself into your thoughts, flitting through your mind as “what if’s”. Fear says ‘you can’t and ‘you’ll never’. It tries to tell you the current situation is permanent and will never get any better. Fear is a lie.

God told us, “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) If your loved one is afraid of disease, you can know – for him or her – that God’s children are redeemed from the curse (Gal. 3:13). Hang onto His promises!

If the opportunity presents itself (and God will probably make that happen) you can explain how you stay calm and peaceful. Maybe you can even help your loved ones replace fear with faith. Is he afraid of disease? Does she fear death? Heaven is a wonderful place – and no one who gets there ever wants to come back here.

Fear is debilitating. It is actually faith in the disease or disaster’s ability to harm or inflict pain. When Jesus faced the most horrendous death in history, taking on all of our diseases and sins, He told the Disciples, “Rejoice, I go unto My Father.” Knowing the ultimate outcome helps defeat fear.

Be grateful.

It is always a thrill to look back on situations and see how God positioned you for something coming that you couldn’t foresee. As stressful as the situation is right now, know that you are where you need to be. God has anointed, ordained and strengthened you to deal with this time. When I was caring for my mother, the verses I clung to were “Your grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:19), I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

If this is a time of care-giving or other emotionally draining situation, find the little things that bless you. Don’t let them slip by your consciousness unnoticed. Remember the adage, ‘take time to smell the roses’.

Enjoy a few moments of sunshine. Listen to peaceful music. Make yourself a cup of hot tea. Keep a good book handy and read a few pages while your loved one naps. Take a nap yourself! Do whatever you need to do to replenish your spirit and soul. God will give you those opportunities. Watch for them and be thankful.

Even better, keep a Blessings Journal. Make yourself write at least three things every day that were positive and uplifting. When you feel down, re-read your entries.

Rejoice!

Combat negatives with positives. Life is just that, LIFE. As long as the patient has consciousness, do your best to share joy and laughter. The worst thing for patients with a serious illness or people hurt by life’s disasters  is for everyone to tip-toe around, somber and depressed.

Read jokes. Watch a comedy on TV. Find something to laugh about. The Bible tells us that “a merry heart doeth good, like medicine”. Buy a joke book. Tell funny stories – anything to take your mind (and theirs) off the battle.

No matter what happens in your life (or theirs), you are strong enough to deal with it. No matter what you face, it is not the end. Divorce closes one chapter … and opens another. Disaster – a car wreck, house fire, whatever it might be – can end with a positive result if you keep yourself positive. Even death is ‘swallowed up in victory’ (I Cor. 15:54) when heaven becomes home.

Every ‘end’ is a beginning, a new phase of LIFE, an opportunity to strengthen your faith and move forward. With these five keys, I know you can do it. Soon you’ll be back by that bubbling brook, rejoicing in the warmth of your blessings, peaceful and unafraid.

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