Thursday, June 6, 2013

Comforting Others

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, 
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, 
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
2 Corinthians 1:4
(KJV)

I think it is very interesting that of all of the titles and descriptions 
with which Jesus could have referred to the Holy Spirit,
He chose "The Comforter".
Shortly before His crucifixion, He spoke these words to His disciples,
in the 14th and 15th chapters of John,
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter
that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, 
because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: 
but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, 
whom the Father will send in my name, 
he shall teach you all things, 
and bring all things to your remembrance, 
whatsoever I have said unto you.
But when the Comforter is come, 
whom I will send unto you from the Father, 
  even the Spirit of truth, 
which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
Oh, the precious Comforter!
The sweetness of His presence in the soul 
completely resigned to Him!


There is no earthly solace...
that comes close to matching
the deep-down comfort He brings to the inmost depths
of the human heart.

#33.  The Comforter.
#34.  The fact that He abides in me.

How could the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God,
comfort you and me,
had He never experienced the need for comfort?
How would He know how this feels....
to be human...
to hurt...
to cry...
to feel rejected of men?
How could He really empathize or relate...
to suffering....
abandonment....
ex-communication....
and grief...
had He never lived and breathed inside a human skeleton
and experienced the full gamut of being one of us?


He felt it all, my friend.
He knows.
How well He knows!
Everything you are experiencing.
Everything you have been through.
The deepest recesses of your brokenness.
He has been there...with you....all the time.

#35.  Jesus understands.
He is able to comfort you,
because He was here...
one of us...
and He needed comfort.
He experienced comfort,
therefore He comforts us.

Today's passage of Scripture reminds us
that we can comfort others with the very same comfort
we have received from God's Holy Spirit,
the Comforter.

How could you hope to understand the woman standing in front of you,
tears streaming down her face,
heart shattered beyond recognition,
had you never cried?
Had your heart never been broken?
Could you really relate?
Would you be able to comfort her...
at all?
If you had never felt a trace of pain?

#36.  The end of trials.
#37.  Lessons learned.
#38.  Opportunities to comfort others.
I heard the pain in her voice, as I read her email.
She was feeling the pain of a husband's neglect.
His constant travel....and accompanying "activities" that caused suspicion.
She found herself middle-aged, with kids still needing to be homeschooled,
overweight...feeling not-so-pretty...washed-up, jaded, not-so-desirable anymore...
and worried that he was finding and taking "comfort"
outside her willing, waiting, hopeful, eager-to-give-all-she-had arms.

It had happened before.
She had forgiven...each incident.
Tried to put it all behind her....
finding more with each episode, that forgiving is hard to do...
when it keeps happening.

She knows all the signs.
How well she knows..by now!
Unexplained delays.
Too-frequent absences from home.
Jumping at the chance to be gone.
Insensitive insults....
about everything she does.
Beyond-hurtful remarks...
about her weight...her looks...her signs of age.

It was obvious, by the things she told me,
she couldn't feel much worse about herself.

His continual pounding wasn't helping any.

I found myself wondering if she was being abused...physically....
as well as verbally.
I hoped not.
I didn't pry....I only absorbed what information she willingly shared.

It seemed that she repulsed him....
when once she was the joy of his heart.

She missed that.
Missed him.

She wasn't alone, yet, she was lonely.

I found that I had no answers.
I didn't know how to relate...at all....
to her exact situation.
Thanks be to God, my feet have never stepped into her particular shoes.
I didn't really have a clue as to how to advise.
Then it occurred to me...
receiving advice is not the reason she reached out to me.
Having someone tell her what to do was not her intention...
when she put everything on the line,
sat down and poured her heart into an email,
 and found herself confiding in another.

She turned to me....not for advice...
but because she knew she would find a soft place to fall....
her feelings would be validated....
and she would not be judged...for anything she said.
She came here because she knew she would find no criticism.
She knew me well enough to know that the only things she would get from me...
were an understanding ear,
and a heart that cared....deeply....and sincerely.

And though I have never walked through the identical valley through which she was walking,
I have walked through many valleys.
Deep ones.
Ones where I wondered if I would ever see the light of day...again.
Ones where I almost gave up.
Ones where the light of the mountaintop seemed a far, distant, unachievable dream.
Ones where depression was so overwhelming, I nearly drowned in its waves.
Ones where I nearly gave in....to utter and total despair and discouragement.

So, who would I ever be....to size anyone up?
To criticize?
To find fault?
To pass judgment?

#39.  A discerning God...who knows exactly what I need.
Since I am an experienced valley-walker,
I knew firsthand what my sweet friend needed most.
I recognized it instantly.
Because it is what I have always needed most....
when walking through the darkness.

#40.  46 years of life.
I felt it in her words.
That same, familiar-to-my-heart-need.....
 to be comforted.
To be loved.
To be accepted....just as she was.

We talked on the phone.
I mostly listened.
She didn't need anything else, really.
She cried.
Gave me details.
Bared her soul.
I hurt.
I literally hurt...deep inside....imagining standing in her shoes.

I wish she could see herself through God's lens.
She is His child.
And no matter what she weighs,
no matter how thick the diameter where her tiny waist used to be,
no matter how many new gray hairs she finds each morning,
no matter how her husband degrades her...by word or action....
my friend is beautiful.
Under the skin beautiful.
To the core of her soul beautiful.

Superficial beauty is vain.
True beauty is what exudes from a God-filled heart.

She is a dedicated, loyal-to-the-death mother
who sacrifices every school day to give them a quality,
one-on-one, personalized education.
She could have a career.
She chooses not to.
I believe she would give her life for her kids.
Her love for them is fierce...and real.
I hope one day they grow up to know how blessed they are...
to have the privilege to call her "Mama".

I wish her husband could see her...really see her....
for who she really is.
I wish he recognized the worth and value of a faithful wife.
I wish he appreciated the fact that no matter how many times
he has strayed, she has stayed.
I don't know how she does it.
She is made of good stuff.

So, I listened.
I empathized.


I just cared.

It was all she needed.

Before we hung up,
I told her to call anytime.
Email me.
Let me know how she is doing.
If she needs me, I'm here.
If she doesn't, I'm thankful...
because that means things are going better for her
inside the walls of her beautiful home.

It's amazing how "together" things can look from the outside,
as they fall apart behind closed doors.
I would never have dreamed.

#41.  Reality.
None of us have all the answers.
Thankfully, we don't need to.
Because there is One Who walked this way before us,
Who found comfort in the arms of His Father.
After He left this earth, He sent HIS Own Spirit back
so we would never be alone.
So we would be comforted.
So we could comfort others....
" that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

If Jesus had never came to this earth,
walked it in the shoes of a man,
how would He know how we feel?
How would He really be able to empathize....
and comfort us?
If He had merely looked down upon our condition,
from the distance of Heaven,
and witnessed our terrible plight,
would He have really understood?
When we cry?
When we grieve?
When we hurt?
When we fall apart?

He knew that in order to ever be able to truly relate to the human condition,
He would have to take on flesh...and become one of us.


#42.  The love of God.
Walking in our shoes,
enduring every single emotion we will ever face,
then dying on an old, rugged cross,
was the one and only way....
to really understand how we feel...
in all circumstances.

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, 
that we may obtain mercy, 
 and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:15
(emphasis added)

#43.  God's open throne policy.
I have experienced deep, heart-reaching comfort.
When others did not know what to say...
what to do....
how to empathize...
how to comfort.

I have been comforted...
deep-down...where I needed it most...
because I have become personally acquainted
with the Comforter.
He lives and dwells and abides...
inside of me.
His presence is most precious...
cherished beyond any earthly means of comfort.

He has permitted me to walk through the fire,
so I can understand those who are now being tried.
The same comfort wherewith I am comforted,
I most willingly and gladly and unselfishly pass on.


He is my Lighthouse...
the Light of my life....
the Source of light...
that leads from the darkest, most foreboding dungeon of despair.

He is the God of all comfort.

All comfort.
There is nothing He doesn't understand...
doesn't care about....
doesn't empathize with.

Grief.
Broken relationships.
Shattered marriages.
Sickness.
Fear.
Betrayal.
Storms.
Loneliness.
Rejection.
Disappointment.
Shame.
Depression.
Guilt.

You name it.
Why do you crave to be comforted?
Whatever it is, God is the God of all comfort.

He can relate....to all of it....every bit.

My situations and reasons for needing comfort may be worlds apart
from the circumstances you are facing.

It doesn't matter.
The same Comforter Who has brought me through,
is there for you, too, my friend.

What are your reasons?
What are you going through?
You do not walk alone.
You are never alone.

God has the comfort you need....
every time...
in every situation.

Perhaps there is someone around you starved for comfort.

Have you walked through the valley,
felt the threat of being overwhelmed,
and felt the Comforter with you just when you need Him most?

If you never received comfort, how would you know how to give it...
to anyone else?

Sometimes, comfort is administered through just a smile.
A kind glance.
A gentle hug.
Words...like,
"I care."
"I understand."
"I'm here."
"You are not alone."
"I'm listening."

That may be all someone needs....
to be rescued from falling over the ledge....
giving up....
pulling the trigger....
swallowing the pills.

#44.  Redemption.
You have an amazing story.
It is worth telling.
Your life is a gift.
It is worth sharing.
The comfort you have received from the Comforter is rare...and precious...and unique.
Someone needs to hear about it.
Someone in your life...
in your circle....
needs to know about the Comforter.
The One Who can heal every hurt,
bind every broken heart,
and comfort the saddest, most wounded soul.

Will you share the comfort you have been given?
Will you now go and introduce those who are in trouble....to the Comforter?

In sharing, you will be comforted, too.
I promise.
I've been there.
I know.


#45.  Places to pray.

2 comments:

  1. I love you my friend. I know why you got that email. It's because you have a loving heart, you know the source of life, and you know the Savior we love. I don't know that woman, but I can pray for her. And, she knows you will listen, will care, and will pray. That is bearing one another's burdens. I am so glad to know you. God bless you, my sister. Love and prayers, Deborah xxoo

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  2. I love you, too, my dear, sweet friend! You always say what I need to hear...just when I need to hear it most. God sends you by with such fitly spoken words. Thank you for praying for my friend...and for me, too. I appreciate you more than words! I know God will pull her through...He is so faithful. I am so glad to know you, too. You are precious to me! God bless you in a special way. Love and hugs, Cheryl

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