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Elisabeth Elliot disclosed six ways she has found help in the midst of loss and sorrow:

“First, I try to be still and know that He is God. . . . Stillness is something the bereaved may feel they have entirely too much of.  But if they will use that stillness to take a long look at Christ, to listen attentively to his voice, they will get their bearings. . . .

The second thing I try to do is to give thanks.  I cannot thank God for the murder of one [husband] or the excruciating disintegration of another, but I can thank God for the promise of his presence. . . .

Then I try to refuse self-pity. . . . Amy Carmichael, in her sword-thrust of a book If, wrote, ‘If I make much of anything appointed, magnify it secretly to myself or insidiously to others, then I know nothing of Calvary love.’. . .

The next thing to do is to accept my loneliness.  When God takes a loved person from my life, it is in order to call me, in a new way, to himself.  It is therefore a vocation. . . .

The acceptance of loneliness can be followed immediately by the offering of it up to God.  Something mysterious and miraculous transpires as soon as something is held up in our hands as a gift.  He takes it from us, as Jesus took the little lunch when five thousand people were hungry.  He gives thanks for it and then, breaking it, transforms it for the good of others.  Loneliness looks pretty paltry as a gift to offer to God – but then when you come to think of it so does anything else we might offer. . . .

The last of the helps I have found is to do something for somebody else.  There is nothing like definite, overt action to overcome the inertia of grief. . . .”

Elisabeth Elliot, “The Ones Who Are Left,” Christianity Today, 27 February 1976, pages 7-9.

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5 thoughts on “Six helps for sufferers”

  1. So good! Often times God will allow incredible pain to come into our lives so that we will have a greater ability to be completely dependent on Him.

  2. Kenneth says:

    Maybe this will also be a help for sufferers.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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