Luke 22:32 ESV
… And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Do you have a purpose? Do you wonder why you are left on this earth when your beloved was taken?
I watched a video recently on how to potentially add ten years to one’s life. I thought it would include things like cutting out sugar or running marathons—two things I would find very difficult to do! Surprisingly enough, the video included things like having a reason for getting up in the morning or having a purpose in life. I knew this in my heart but didn’t know how healthy it was.
When Jesus was talking to Peter in our passage above, He knew about the testing of Peter’s faith that was on the horizon. He knew the rough patch Peter was going to experience. Do you believe that He knew about your rough patch? Do you believe He knew you would experience a crisis of your faith?
I do believe that.
When Peter had walked through his “valley”, Jesus instructed him to invest in his brothers in Christ. Peter didn’t experience his trials just to sit and analyze. He didn’t get through the doubts and denials just to sit in a dimly lit home in solitude. Jesus knew Peter would come through the testing with his faith firmly planted in Christ, and then he was to share it with others.
I have a story to tell that I don’t like. I wanted a different story! Mine is ugly and, frankly, pretty painful. But I believe someone needs to hear my story, so they can be strengthened in their faith. I didn’t experience the loss of my spouse just so I could play the victim or wallow in self-pity forever. The point is that I need to strengthen others with my faith-story. My life did not end the day my beloved husband passed away. I may have wished it did, but God left me here to strengthen others.
I think the healing lies squarely in the fact that it happens unexpectedly when we invest in others—strengthen our brothers. So how would a hurting widow do this?
- Pray for others: make a prayer list for those times you lie in bed awake. My grandmother used to tell me to pray through the alphabet – think of someone for each letter. Look up prayers in the New Testament that Paul prayed for believers and insert a name in the verses (like Philippians 1:9-11) Paul used his imprisonment to pray for others and write letters. We can use our “imprisonment” to pray for others too or send notes of encouragement.
- Serve others: find a place in your community or church to give back (pregnancy crisis center, Red Cross, public library, hospital, schools, etc.).
- Find a walking partner: get a little exercise with a new friend.
- Social Media: lots of hurting widows comment on our facebook page. You can reply to their comments with your prayers, a verse that has helped you, or some encouraging words. Your comments can strengthen your hurting sisters all over the world.
In strengthening others, we aren’t ignoring our own pain.
We are intentionally exercising our “faith muscles”.
Healing occurs in this way.
Father God, You know how our faith has been tested through all the circumstances in our lives. Show us where we can use our stories of pain, heartache, and loss to strengthen our sisters in Christ. Amen
Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/A New Season Ministries, Inc.. She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, guinea pigs, and most recently, hermit crabs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend. Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and she loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.
Want to read more on finally healing? Transforming Power by Lori Reynolds Streller
Or on struggling with issues in your life? My God-Box by Elizabeth Dyer
Other articles by Elizabeth