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Shock and denial are usually the first things encountered when tragedy or loss occurs. God uses them as protection against complete devastation.

A shock is something that jars the mind or emotions with a violent, unexpected blow.

Shock is actually a built-in protection. It gives us time to become gradually adjusted to the change that has taken place. It prevents us from having to face reality all at once.

Before we can press forward, we must have a new mindset. Shock provides us time to develop a new way of thinking about our lives and futures.

To illustrate, consider an automobile's shock absorbers. They are designed to cushion the vehicle from unexpected bumps in the road. Without them it would fall apart from the violence of the blows it encounters during its travels.

Often we are the same way. We are traveling on the road of life, and most of us are not expecting bumps and potholes. Therefore we are not ready for them when they suddenly show up.

Our Holy Ghost-installed "shock absorbers" cushion the blow until we can readjust and adapt our thinking to accommodate the sudden change in the ride.

The stages of shock can last from a few minutes up to several weeks. But if it goes beyond that, something is wrong.

Healthy shock is like a temporary anesthetic; however, we cannot stay permanently under anesthesia. We must move on. Shock is a temporary escape from reality, but if it is not temporary, it can lead to very serious problems.

I recall being with my aunt when my uncle died. He had been sick for quite some time, and even though it was probably inevitable that he would die, my aunt kept saying over and over, "I just can't believe it; I cannot believe he is gone." She was in the initial stage of shock that often comes with a tragic loss.

When going through shock, it is best not to linger in inactivity too long. A woman on my staff experienced a sudden, devastating crisis. I remember her saying, "God told me to keep I'm going to come to work."

She shared that she was not sure what the quality of her work would be, but she knew it would be disastrous for her if she gave in to the apathy that was seeking to take over and drag her down.

In one day, she had lost what seemed to her to be everything of importance to her life. Her general feeling was, "What's the use? Why try to do anything?" She knew that if she was going to survive, she had to counter those feelings with positive action.

When you are going through shock due to a tragic loss, as a believer you must recognize the division between soul and spirit. Even in a time of tragedy or loss you must discern the difference between your human emotions and the true leading of the Holy Spirit.

Denial is the refusal to face reality which can often cause emotional and mental illness in varying degrees.

God has equipped us with His Spirit to empower us to face reality, to take His hand, to walk through the dark valleys and to overcome all the obstacles that life brings.

With God's Spirit to dwell within us and to watch over us, we can say with King David:
Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
(Ps. 23:4)
Even when death brings a shadow over our lives, we can live with hope.

In speaking of hope, think again of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:8-27). Even though they had to experience being cast into an oven that had been heated seven times hotter than ever before, the Lord was with them in that blazing inferno.

We can look at scriptural accounts such as the one above to encourage ourselves whenever we find ourselves in a tough place. Just as God was with the Hebrew children in that fiery furnace, so that they came out of it loosed and with no permanent damage done to them, so He will be with us in whatever situation we may have to face in life.

It is God's will for us to face reality, to go through and come out victoriously in every way. Facing reality is hard, but running away from reality is even harder.

Source: Help Me I'm Alone by Joyce Meyer
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Joyce Meyer
Web site: Joyce Meyer Ministries
Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A New York Times bestselling author, her books have helped millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ. Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, she teaches on a number of topics with a particular focus on the mind, mouth, moods and attitudes. Her candid communication style allows her to share openly and practically about her experiences so others can apply what she has learned to their lives.

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