God is good at giving us wake-up calls. My wake-up call came a number of months back and what God began in me was hard, painful and unpleasant. The work I had to do was messy and the depths I had to dig into my heart were deep, but I heeded the call and I braved the journey because hitting snooze was not an option anymore. Now I’m coming out on the other side and here are some things I’ve learned.
2Cor 1:3-7 (NLT) 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
The trials God uses to refine me are not pleasant at the time but the love and peace that waits on the other side is truly awe-inspiring. I’m healthier, more joyful, grateful, grounded and more at peace. I am more myself than I have ever been. God cultivated in me courage I never thought I had, compassion I knew nothing about and an ability to now comfort others in a way I never thought possible. In each day I see things so differently now. That email which could have set me off 6 months ago, now invokes compassion for the sender. The actions of those around me that would once cause me to wrestle with judgment now invoke the thought, “They are doing the best they can with what they have.” As Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do.” Jesus too knew that people, especially those who are hurting, are doing the best they can with what they have. And our incredible God brings us into these people’s lives, just like he brought others into our lives, to comfort them from the comfort He gave us through others.
5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.
Pursuing Him amidst the suffering, pursuing truth over the story I want to tell myself results in God showering me with His comfort. The power of comfort is empathy and the call by God is not to pray, “God take it away” but rather, “God please comfort me so I can be empowered to comfort others.” Don’t get me wrong, amidst the trudging through all the pain and trials, comfort is the last thing I want to pray for, and I absolutely prayed for Him to take it away, but instead He gave me comfort through others and allowed me to experience a love I had not before.
Once you witness the miracles both in yourself and in others, you realize you wouldn’t want to do it again but it was worth it. All of it was worth it as it gave me the ability to love with my whole heart and experience and enjoy life like never before. I see the purpose of perseverance. My capacity to comfort others depends on my suffering. It enables me to walk into someone’s life and say, “I know.” Ultimately, God uses it for others salvation as he allows us to comfort them with the comfort we ourselves have received.
6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
God is always at work. He is doing something incredible, and if we let Him, He will reveal Himself to us and flood our heart with immeasurable love. Each moment embraced is the moment we can rest assured that He has chosen us for such a time as this. I can still be afraid but be brave at the same time. I am no longer standing at the edge of the cliff wavering, I stepped off and on the way down, He built me wings and taught me how to fly. He will do the same for you.