As humans, we all have experienced some sort of hurt, pain, grief, suffering, and distress, otherwise known as anguish. Anguish comes and goes. For some of us, it lasts longer than we anticipated. But what do you do when anguish does not leave you as quickly as you hoped?
There are two ways we can deal with the anguish in our lives: We can choose to dwell in the negativity of it, or we can choose to endure it.
To dwell means to live, or to continue in a given condition or state.
To endure means to hold out against, to sustain without impairment or yielding; to undergo.
There is a woman in the Bible named Hannah who experienced anguish as a result of her infertility. Not only was Hannah unable to bear children, but she was also mocked by her rival, Peninnah, intentionally and continuously for years about it. The torment of Hannah’s anguish often led her to tears, and, on occasion, she would even refuse to eat. In other words, she was depressed. But amidst her anguish and depression, Hannah teaches us five practical ways to endure suffering. I highly encourage you to read her full story in 1 Samuel 1.
Hannah’s situation and resulting depression never stopped her from praying. In her deep anguish, Hannah sought after God in prayer, at times while weeping bitterly (1 Samuel 1:10).
We all face trying times in life. Maybe you’re dealing with a difficult situation in your life right now. Whatever the circumstance, nothing is too bad, too crazy, or too impossible for our God. Rather than waiting around listening to the lies of the enemy, rise up and fight through prayer!
Hannah did not allow her infertility or Peninnah’s words to define her. Instead, she prayed despite her circumstances and emotions.
Friend, don’t allow the lies, negativity of others, or your current circumstances to define you. Seek God in prayer, and find your identity in His Word.
2. Pour Your Heart Out To God
Hannah was not ashamed of her anguish and depression. She publicly prayed to God about her bitterness and, most importantly, entrusted Him with it. People won’t always understand your anguish, but God will. Hannah knew that God saw her in the midst of her trials, so she continually poured her heart out to Him (1 Samuel 1:15).
Have you ever felt ashamed for feeling a certain way?
Unfortunately, many of us feel ashamed of our anguish, suffering, or depression, often because of the negative stigmas that come with such circumstances. However, suffering is a part of the shared human experience, and depression is a natural feeling and, at times, a severe medical condition that people experience as a result of their circumstances.
Feeling depressed is not a bad thing nor is it a sin. It’s part of being human. God desires for us to endure our depression, though, and not dwell in it. Pouring our heart out to Him about what we’re going through is a part of enduring anguish and depression.
Friend, feeling shame about your depression is not God’s desire for you. The devil will want you to feel ashamed of your circumstances and your feelings so you won’t run to God and pour your heart out to Him. When you go to God, He can and will give you grace and strength to get through your anguish.
3. Express How You Are Feeling To Trustworthy Friends
Hannah not only poured out how she felt to God, but she also expressed how she felt to Eli, the priest (1 Samuel 1:15-16). In doing so, Hannah allowed peace and comfort into her life. After pouring her heart out to God and expressing her sorrow to Eli, she began to eat again and was no longer sad (1 Samuel 1:18).
There is power in our willingness to open up to God and to each other. In a previous blog I wrote titled, Do You Have Friends, I discussed the importance of surrounding ourselves with the right people. Having trustworthy friends to share our deepest sorrows with alleviates the stress and anguish from our lives.
Do you express yourself honestly to others when you’re going through a bad season, or are you ashamed to do so?
The Bible tells us in James 5:16 to confess our sins to each other and to pray for one another so we can be healed. Similarly, in Galatians 6:2, we are told to carry each other’s burdens. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and gains even more power when shared among a community of believers.
We were created for companionship, first with God and then with each other. Sharing our burdens allows the space for God’s peace and joy to come into our lives even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
4. Choose To Worship No Matter What
While Hannah continued to pray and wait on God for her miracle, she never ceased to worship before the Lord. When much time had passed, Hannah did not become impatient. She persisted in worshiping God through her anguish, not knowing whether He would answer her prayer or not. Even when God gifted Hannah with a son, she didn’t stop praising Him because He had answered her; she continued to worship Him as her Lord and Father (1 Samuel 1:20).
Like Hannah, we, too, should worship God no matter the outcome. He is worthy of our worship no matter our circumstances.
5. Keep The Faith In God’s Promises
Hannah’s faith kept her steady. She endured her anguish by placing her trust in God above her condition of infertility. When many would have turned their backs on God, she remained steadfast in prayer and worship, and, though she waited many years for a son, Hannah never wavered in her belief in God’s goodness.
What about you? Do you still have faith when you’re in a season of suffering, or do you allow your circumstances to affect your faith in God?
If you find yourself in a season of anguish, what are you doing to endure it?
Related Post: What Do You Believe About God’s Response to Prayers?
The enemy would love to see you dwell in your depression. God’s plan, though, is for you to endure your difficult season in faith just as Hannah did. If overcame her anguish by applying these 5 practical principles, you can too!
Friend, you are not alone in your anguish. God is with you, and He is more than willing to help you endure it if you simply allow Him in.