Comfort spills…and Gratitude fills…

Posted by on Mar 3, 2013 in faith, perspective | 0 comments

Suffering has been on my mind lately. I have been studying Job, the ultimate example of suffering, while my prayer list is filled with people going through impossible situations. Their pain rests heavy on my soul, but at the same time, I am reminded of two things that I have been learning.

Comfort spills.

I heard this phrase in a sermon earlier this year, and it keeps popping into my head. It is our job…my job…to comfort others, to be the face and words of Jesus to a damaged world. We have been comforted so that we can comfort those around us. My guilt tries to derail it, one sharp jab at a time, telling me that I don’t have anything to offer, that I have no right to be privy to their hurt when I can’t begin to understand it. But at the same time, I also feel like my relationship with God is more solid than it has been in a long time. Maturing. Deepening. Isn’t that where comfort comes from? Having faith embedded into the core of your being so that when you open your mouth, Truth spills out?

I know that I can trust God and I know that He has His best in mind, because He has done it before and will do it again. And if that means shifting from the receiver of comfort to giver, even though it’s a role I don’t quite feel comfortable in yet, that’s what I need to do…that’s what we need to do. We are to open ourselves so that God can work through us, not because of us.

Gratitude fills.

The second thought that has been on my mind is that even in the darkest place, there is hope that springs from gratitude. At the very middle of my beliefs about God, I have a profound gratitude for my salvation that gives me not a temporal, but an eternal hope. That’s where everything begins. But where it becomes real is in the struggle, in the countless examples where the fragility of our lives are held together only through the strength of God working through us and our impossible situations. Humanity has limits, but with God’s hope at our core, we can endure so much more. I think of Corrie Ten Boom giving thanks for the lice who kept the guards out of the barracks, so they could worship God. I think of Job, with everything stripped away, still not giving up hope. But more importantly, I think of friends and acquaintances who have stared down disease, loss, and heartache and refused to give up hope. They found ways to be thankful in the middle of the hurricane, shining God’s Truth out of every pore.

I know these to be true. I have seen and heard and experienced them in my life. I have felt God’s comfort and the challenge to show it to others. I have felt the swelling of hope that comes from being grateful. Many of us may never have that one deep sorrow that threatens to drown us, but many more of us will. Will we decide to find ways to be thankful, even in the midst of trouble? Will we take the opportunities to look outside of ourselves and comfort others?

One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 4:7-10: “But we have this treasures in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but no crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not  destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” I have always loved this verse, but it has taken on more meaning than ever. Accepting our fragility, and allowing God to do His work through us…spilling comfort and being filled with gratitude.

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