How to process difficult or unwanted news

Editor’s note: This information was published in a previous issue of Heartfelt Magazine, CHM’s monthly magazine that provides CHM membership-related tips and tricks, medical advice from doctors, testimonies from CHM members and more. Please refer to the CHM Guidelines and applicable web pages for the most up-to-date information regarding CHM membership, sharing eligibility and ministry news.

Difficult or unwanted news—especially relating to a medical diagnosis—can be challenging to process. However, you don’t have to face your trials alone. God, your CHM family and your local community are walking with you through your journey and are here to help you process the news.

Here are some steps to embrace as you begin what may be a difficult journey:

Enlist the support of a close friend or family member

If you are going to a doctor or a place where you think you may receive bad news, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust along with you. Even if you feel prepared to receive the news, your support person may be able to think of key questions to ask and notes to record. After the visit, they can use their insight from the visit to help you verbally process your illness or injury and decide what the best course of action may be.

Allow yourself space to grieve

The grieving process may occur, even if your diagnosis isn’t terminal. You may be grieving the loss of summer plans that you are now too tired to complete. You may grieve a necessary lifestyle change, a inevitable change of pace, or the loss of an enjoyable activity in your regular schedule.

Many people want to avoid the feelings of anger, denial or depression; we may think that these feelings are wrong because, as Christians, we are called to be joyful. Christ does give us joy, hope and peace that passes understanding, yet sorrow, pain or fear are understandable initial reactions. The Apostle Paul writes that Christians do grieve, however we grieve differently from those of the world. Instead of staying in these overwhelming emotions, work your way through them; understand that these feelings are to be expected. Allow them to reveal your need for Christ and push you toward Him.

Call upon the Lord

Psalm 34:18 says that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” He is with you in every moment of difficulty. You can turn to Him for comfort through prayer or by reading the Bible. He can help you clear your mind, find peace and comfort, and open your eyes to the blessings He has placed in your life. 

If you are looking for reading suggestions, you may wish to begin with the Book of Psalms, verses from Isaiah 41 and 43, and this helpful list of verses.

Know that everything has a purpose—even this pain

In his book The Wounded Spirit, Frank Peretti writes: “God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears; suffering doesn’t come our way for no reason, and He seems efficient at using what we endure to mold character. If we are malleable, He takes our bumps and bruises and shapes them into something beautiful.” God confirms this through Romans 8:28, which reads, “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Knowing this doesn’t take the pain away, but it does help to process your circumstances in the light of eternity.

Tap into your community

Seeking support within your community can give you the opportunity to discuss your symptoms or treatment with others, which can be both therapeutic and informative. Trusted individuals can often help you find new questions to ask your doctor, and talking aloud can help you work through the details of your illness or injury.

God created us to dwell in communities, just as He is in community with Christ and the Holy Spirit. Your CHM community is here to comfort, support, encourage, and pray for you. Through your local community, God provides a support structure that can bring you meals, pray over you, watch your kids, and help you with the day-to-day tasks that might be overwhelming you.  

We are here for you

CHM is a ministry, first and foremost. Not only do we want to help you with the burden of your medical bills, but we want to lift you up spiritually as well. You can call the CHM offices, and we will pray for you. Your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ also want to lift you and your situation up to the Lord and send you cards, letters and emails of encouragement.

Remember: You are not alone. God has a plan—beyond your earthly understanding—to use this for good.

 

How to journey through grief

©2021 Christian Healthcare Ministries. All rights reserved.