Sunday, June 25, 2017

The God Of Comfort

Hey Friend,

This may seem like an odd way to start a post on a Christian blog site, but as I am sipping my coffee seven weeks into a long and grueling convalescence from oral surgery, then foot surgery, this song came to mind.  

Not that I ever really liked it, but it seems to have a fitting chorus that puts words to how I've been feeling lately.  If you're game, you'll give it a listen and I'll pick back up after you have a sound byte:

Sound familiar?  Do you ever feel this way?  

Just as you are getting your footing from being knocked down and getting back up, the enemy or life comes along and "boom" you're back on the mat again - squirming like an upside down bug that can't right itself.

This has been my experience the past two months.  I've shared some of the details in previous posts so I won't bore you here, but I asked my husband at dinner the other night, "How many times have I had complete meltdowns throughout this whole ordeal?"

My husband looked at me quizzically as if it was a trick question.

"I'd have to say maybe three," he said matter of factly.

"Hey, that's not too bad considering it's been almost two months....that's less than one every couple of weeks," I retorted somewhat proud of myself.

Actually, there's no room for pride.  The only way I've been able to keep getting back up is due to the all sufficient grace that God has given me.  In my weakness it has been His strength-so that I may not boast.

So Why, I wondered, have all these things been happening?  Why all the bad bumps along the way?  Why couldn't the enemy pick on someone else for awhile? My answer came this morning when I read this section of scripture in my quiet time.  I invite you to really read it slowly and let the words sink in.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-7
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction,[b] so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.

I admit that in some ways I don't relish the thought that my suffering is for someone else's benefit.  

But then, didn't Christ suffer for MY benefit???

I believe that God allows us to suffer so that we will rely totally on God - the God of all comfort.  He desires to give us His strength in our weakness.  He draws near and comforts us.

I also believe that God allows us to suffer so that we will take it one step further and step outside our comfort zone, into the shoes of others who are suffering, so that we may comfort them with the comfort we have been shown by God.

Last, I believe that God allows our suffering so that others who have similarly suffered, and have been comforted by God, may come alongside us and share the comfort that they have received.

In doing so we realize that though we may get knocked down, we can, indeed get up again, and in God's power nothing will ever be able to keep us down permanently!

I would like to say a big "Thank you" to the people who have reached out to me to lift me up off the mat.  Thank you for sharing your comfort with me because you know what it's like to have suffered.  You know who you are.

I praise God for the people God has given me the opportunity to comfort because of the great and awesome comfort He has given me.  It helps me not to resent my affliction, but to find joy in it because He has given me the great honor of providing comfort to some of His other children.

It's the great seesaw of life as a believer.  One day we will be the one who is up and the next day we may be the one who is down.  

May I always remember the comfort that God has brought me through His children who have suffered, and may I bring comfort in response to others who suffer because I have known the grace and mercy of the great God of comfort.

Claiming God's promise that as I share in the suffering, so shall I share in the comfort.  

Have you been suffering?  Or are you the one standing with others around you who are suffering?  Either way, what do you feel God calling to you to share?  How does this scripture give you hope?

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You and praise You that You are the God of all comfort.  Thank you for being my strength in my weakness so that I may boast of Your goodness.  Help me to see and not to overlook those around me who are suffering.  Let me heed Your call to be a comfort to them.  Thank You for those who have suffered and have heeded Your call to comfort me.  Because of You and Christ's great suffering for me, I count myself as truly blessed.  Enable me to not just read Your commands, but to act on them so that Your name will be glorified.  In Jesus' precious name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed.....

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