Friends, I have a confession to make:
Lately, I’ve felt as though I’m struggling so much that there’s no way I can be an encouragement to anyone else.
I haven’t been reaching out to those I should because I feel inadequate to help due to my current situation.
Translation: I’ve been prideful.
Yes, I’ve been struggling.
Yes, I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water.
Yes, I feel broken and beaten…..
But in my wrestling with circumstances out of my control, I have turned inward instead of reaching out.
Isn’t that always our initial reaction?
I’m sad to say more times than not, it is mine.
I feel like I would be being a hypocrite if I acted as though everything was peachy and nothing was wrong.
And you know what?
It would be the very definition of hypocrisy to act as though I wasn’t struggling when in fact I am.
But since when does everything have to be perfect before God can ever use us?
Does He not glory in taking the bruised and broken and turning them into trophies of His grace?
He still uses the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to confound the mighty.
I was visiting my parents in Georgia this past weekend, and the Lord used my former pastor to remind me of a very important truth:
The God that comforted His children in the Bible is the same God that comforts me.
He never changes!
The end of 2 Corinthians 1:3 calls Him “the God of all comfort.”
Not some comfort.
Not a little comfort.
Not even most comfort.
But He doesn’t stop there. Verse 4 says: “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.”
Did you catch that?
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,”
When we’re going through struggles and hard times, God always comforts us, doesn’t He?
There has never been one thing I’ve faced, one hurt I’ve experienced, one hardship I’ve endured that God hasn’t been there to comfort my soul like only He can.
Here it is:
“that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,”
Did you see it that time?
God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
Isn’t that amazing?
How can we comfort others?
Finish the verse:
“by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
My pastor described it as God putting that comfort in trust in us until we meet someone else who needs it, and we pass it along to them.
What God has given (and is giving) me, I can turn around one day and share it with someone facing the same thing.
I won’t be much of a comfort to someone who is battling cancer or lupus or someone who is struggling with singleness or someone who has lost a spouse or a child.
Because I’ve never experienced these things…
But I have friends who have experienced or are still experiencing these things, and they can be a help and a comfort to another person walking through that same valley.
I’ve faced my own valleys.
I know the ins and outs of food allergies…and how to read labels and what to avoid, what tastes good and what tastes like cardboard.
I know the ups and downs of being a preacher/pastor’s wife…and the full spectrum of emotions that go along with this great honor.
I know the longing and desire for a house full of children…and the pain and heartbreak that comes from that desire being left unfulfilled.
I also know the comfort God has given me.
And I’ve been able to share with others how He has helped and is still helping me through these and other things.
I read a quote a while back that said,
“Your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”
I have found that to be true, not only in my own life, but in the lives of others.
Sometimes you’ll have helpful information.
Sometimes you’ll have a perspective they may have never seen.
Sometimes you’ll only be able to say, “I understand,” and cry with them…
The comfort will express itself in different ways in different situations.
It may even surprise you how and when…but rest assured, if God gave it to you, He means for you to give it to someone else.
This thought alone gives me comfort, because I know that all the heartache I have faced and have yet to face isn’t for nothing.
If God can use it to comfort someone else and get glory to Himself, is it not worth it?
I had a very dear friend remind me today of a quote by C.H. Spurgeon. He said, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages.”
This is a lesson I’m still learning…
But, oh, how I want this to be true in my own life.
Friends, when you’re struggling, hurting, desperately trying to see the end…please don’t allow pride to creep in and deny a blessing to someone else simply because you’re having a hard time.
Cry out to Jesus.
Drink in His Word.
Let it wash over you and bring the healing your soul desires.
He’s still the God of all comfort.
Let Him comfort you so that one day, He can use you to comfort others.