What Happened When I Stopped Trying to Escape My Suffering and Instead Looked for God in It

Emily Rose Massey

Contributor
Published: Nov 02, 2018
What Happened When I Stopped Trying to Escape My Suffering and Instead Looked for God in It

Can’t catch my breath.

Can’t stop shaking.

Uncontrollably crying.

Help me, Jesus.

Help me.

I was having a panic attack.

My husband, who was barely able to walk or talk because of a severe migraine and muscle aches, rushed into our son’s nursery.

“Look at me, Emily,” he said with compassion in his eyes.

“Just breathe. Stay calm. You’re okay.”

I felt trapped in my own body, while my mind was trying its best to calm down.

“Help me, Jesus,” I continued to pray over and over again, but the crying and the shaking just increased.

My husband was holding our son in one arm and with the other he placed his hand on top of my head and began to pray over me and declare the name of Jesus. I immediately felt the power of God overwhelm me and I fell to my knees.

I wept and whispered, “I love You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus.” Then, suddenly, great peace surrounded me.

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Jesus Helped Me with My Anxiety

Jesus Helped Me with My Anxiety

A few years ago, I wrote about this powerful encounter with prayer that helped conquer a sudden panic attack in an instant. This article has been shared thousands upon thousands of times on the internet over the years. I have received countless emails from people, men and women alike, from literally all around the world who “stumbled” upon it late at night while they were experiencing great anxiety in their lives, and it brought much encouragement.

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I Still Suffer with Anxiety

I Still Suffer with Anxiety

Just last week, a woman reached out to me about her own personal struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. She explained how she is constantly battling fears and worry. She can’t sleep. She has heart palpitations. She is exhausted. She has prayed for it to go away and longs for the peace of God to wash over her.

She asked me how I got free from anxiety, how I was healed of it.

I want nothing more than to tell this precious sister in Christ (and the rest of those who have read that article) that after that memorable night when my husband prayed for me, I have never had another panic attack again or struggled with anxiety or worry in any way, shape, or form.

But that is simply not true. 

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Sin Has Corrupted the World

Sin Has Corrupted the World

Anxiety (and depression) has been plaguing my life on and off since I was a child, and it is still something that I wrestle with to this day. I used to think that my struggle with anxiety and depression made me a very weak Christian that lacked faith in God.

But that, my dear friends, is absolutely not true either.

Because sin exists in the world, so does sickness and brokenness and no one is exempt from any of it.

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Our Sovereign God Allows Suffering

Our Sovereign God Allows Suffering

Although we have been redeemed and our eternal salvation is secure in Christ, as believers, we still are subject to suffering in this fallen world that we live in. God may not cause pain, mental illness, disease, or traumatic experiences, but in His great sovereignty, He does allow it.

For me, there came a point in time where I stopped rebuking the devil for all the anxiety and depression I was experiencing. Instead, I shifted my focus on God Almighty, the only One who could help me through my pain and give me wisdom on what was going on with my body. Through it all, whether the anxiety was caused by a spiritual attack to my mind with overwhelming thoughts or a hormonal imbalance occurring in my body, God has always remained faithful and near to me in the midst of my suffering.

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God Arms Us with Prayer and the Bible

God Arms Us with Prayer and the Bible

My faith in Him has not waivered, even if my emotions and thoughts did.

Although prayer may not conquer every moment of panic or worry, it is my life-line to stay connected to the source of peace and life, to abide in the Vine (John 15) so I don’t dry up.

I also remember to arm myself with the truth of God’s Word that helps me renew my mind day by day and strengthens my faith and gives me hope.

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Jesus Can Strengthen Our Roots During Suffering

Jesus Can Strengthen Our Roots During Suffering

We will all experience some type of suffering and face “winter” seasons in our lives. Difficult seasons in life can actually be a time of growth and maturity in the Lord. In nature, a tree’s roots actually grow deeper into the earth in the winter time. Your suffering can actually be what allows your roots in the Lord to grow deeper.

Instead of yielding ourselves to complete defeat and despair when we are suffering, we need to allow our roots in Jesus grow deeper and deeper.

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Jesus is Our Source of Life

Jesus is Our Source of Life

During these dark times, the enemy wants you to dry up and rot – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The enemy will even tempt you to run to other things or people to take away your pain, but we must use times of trial to draw closer to the Lord and drink deep of His goodness and faithfulness.

Remember, we must remain connected to our life-source, Jesus, the Vine. He alone sustains us through every time of difficulty. No other thing or person will be able to bring you true life, peace, and wholeness, friend.

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Reach Out for Help

Reach Out for Help

Staying connected to other believers is also extremely important to our spiritual health as well, especially when we are facing a trial or storm. Their root systems in God can share “nutrients” with us and their spiritual fruit can “feed” us when we are struggling to hang onto the Vine.

If we isolate ourselves during anxious times and neglect taking in the proper nutrients from God’s Word, we become very vulnerable to the enemy’s lies and fear tactics. Isolation is the breeding ground for hopelessness, doubt, and fear. Don’t allow shame or embarrassment keep you from reaching out for help when you are struggling to find hope. Call, text, or visit a friend and open up about what you are going through.

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The Body of Christ Loved Me through My Suffering

The Body of Christ Loved Me through My Suffering

Over the course of my life, I have experienced some pretty harsh winter seasons when it came to suffering with anxiety and depression. Thankfully, I have learned to establish a solid “root-system” in the Lord and surround myself with some mighty “oaks” of righteous people who encouraged me along the way and who would always be ready to pray with me and for me. What a beautiful picture of what the Body of Christ is supposed to do when a brother or sister is discouraged and walking through a valley!

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Jesus Knows Our Deepest Pain

Jesus Knows Our Deepest Pain

Because I have experienced such great love and encouragement from other believers when I was in pain, I longed to do the same for others. It is easy to wallow in despair or run from your suffering, but I had a deep desire for God to use my suffering to help others know that they are not alone in what they are experiencing. That is why, in a way, I am thankful to the Lord for the dark times I have gone through with anxiety and depression.

I have responded to every single email from readers who, like me, hurt so deeply from this mental and sometimes physical torment. I have been able to share with them the wisdom that the Lord has given me about natural ways we can take care of our bodies, as well as powerful promises and truth found in Scripture about trusting God and casting our anxieties upon Him every single time because He cares so deeply for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Jesus knows firsthand the depths of pain and suffering here on earth, but the good news is that because of His life given as a sacrifice for our sin, we will one day be with Him for eternity, and He will finally put an end to all suffering and sorrow. Abide in Him and hold onto the hope that He brings, dear friend, mountain high or valley low.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Wavebreakmedia

Emily Rose Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and published her first book, Yielded in His Hands: Becoming a Vessel for God's Glory (eLectio Publishing, 2015) before the age of 30. She now enjoys freelance writing while being a stay-at-home momma. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her ministry, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com.

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Originally published Friday, 02 November 2018.