"I have nothing to live for," she wrote. Her husband's death paralyzed her with sorrow. The profound grief robbed her joy and erased the meaning her life once had.
Have You Been There?
An event, unexpected and painful shatters your world, and suddenly, what once brought happiness means nothing now. What once gave you reason to get up every morning is gone.
That's when God offers a choice: When we look in the mirror, do we see a victim or a victor?
The Path to a Victorious Life
It's a parable of Sadhu Sing, a Hindu convert to Christianity, who became a missionary to India. (Excerpted from Reaching Beyond: How to Jump Over Hurdles and Land on Success by Lou Vickery.)
Late one afternoon, Sadhu and a monk traveled on foot through the Himalayas. It was bitter cold, and night was approaching. The monk warned Sadhu of the danger of freezing to death if they did not reach the monastery before darkness.
Just as they entered a narrow path above a steep precipice, they heard a cry for help. Down the cliff lay a man, who had fallen and hurt himself badly.
The monk looked at Sadhu and said, "Do not stop. God has brought this man to his fate. He must work it out for himself. Let us hurry on before we, too, perish."
But Sadhu replied: "God has sent me here to help my brother. I cannot abandon him."
The monk hurried on his way, while Sadhu make his way down the cliff to aid the fallen man.
The man's leg was broken and he could not walk. Sadhu took his blanket, made a sling of it, and tied the man on his back. Then he began a body-torturing climb. By the time he reached the narrow path again, he was drenched with perspiration.
Doggedly, Sadhu made his way through the deep snow, laboring under the weight of his injured passenger. It was dark now and it was all he could do to follow the path. But he persevered.
Though faint with fatigue, and overheated with exertion, he finally saw ahead the lights of the monastery.
Then, for the first time, Sadhu stumbled and nearly fell. But not from weakness. He had stumbled over something lying on the path. Slowly he bent down to one knee and brushed the snow off the object. It was the body of the monk, frozen to death.
The body heat from Sadhu and his companion had served to keep both alive.
Years later, a disciple of Sadhu asked him, "What is life's most important task?" To which he replied: "To come to the aid of a fellow human in distress."
At one time or another we, too, walk on the frozen path of adversity, pain and grief, but the healing of our pain begins when we change our focus. When we look beyond our own pain. When we become aware of other's needs. And when we dry our tears and look for ways to dry the tears others shed.
That's why God said to love one another as ourselves. Reaching out to others sparks our own healing. Encouraging others lifts our gloom. Helping those in need makes our own purpose clear. And, finding ways to encourage others renews life's meaning.
And because the meaning of God's Word is indeed His will at work, the path is defined—to live victoriously, rich with fulfillment and vibrant with the need to fill others' needs first. That's when it happens—the pain once so deep, turns to peace instead.
And, in the midst of a cruel world, Jesus gave the secret to that peace in the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matt. 22:37-39).
Father, help me move beyond how I feel and take me to the obedience of Your Word. Thank You for granting me wisdom to know how to restore the meaning for my life. In Jesus' name, amen.
What path will you take to restore true meaning in your life?
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and the author of four books. She has helped thousands conquer fear and bring back joy.
This article originally appeared at janetperezeckles.com.
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