Friday, November 6, 2009

God of all Comfort - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Quote of the Day

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company....a church...a home, or an individual.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day.  We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The ony thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.  And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.
Chuck Swindoll - Bible teacher

(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  (5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  (6) If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  (7) And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Especially noticable in the past several weeks, death and dying have been all around me.  As I turned to the left or the right, I have been made aware of death in our own church family; the death, by car accident, of a beautiful young sixteen year old girl in our community; the death of a 25 year old young woman who suffered from a life long battle with disease; the murder-suicide of a family, husband killing his wife and two teenage children in a near by town; a lady I know who mourns the death of her child through miscarriage; the death of a woman whose new born twins are now motherless; and most recently, yesterday, senseless deaths of soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas.

I pray for all these people and loved ones mentioned above that they are comforted by someone willing to be comforters as the afore mentioned verses attest.  There are many mysteries in this life not to be understood this side of heaven.  As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described in one of her books, the acronym DABDA, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance is something we all experience at some point(s) in our lives.  To different degrees most people, through exposure to such tragedies as cancer or sudden death, experience some or all of the above expressions of emotions. 

I share the minor details of these sad and tragic headlines simply to solicit your prayers for our fellow citizens and soldiers.  The following excerpts from a book entitled A Lifetime of Wisdom by Joni Eareckson Tada are meant to shed light and give a clearer perspective regarding suffering:
"Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance." Psalm 68:19
"God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling." Psalm 66:8-9 and Hebrews 2:10
"Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh."  2 Corinthians 4:7-11
"Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent on God." 2 Corinthians 12:9
"Suffering teaches us humility." 2 Corinthians 12:7
"Suffering imparts the mind of Christ." Philippians 2:1-11
"Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak." 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
And there are many more examples in this book of how we are to look at suffering through a different perspective.  We give suffering a new meaning when God is glorified and another brother or sister in Christ who is suffering is encouraged and comforted.
Be the comforter today as you have been comforted in the past.

In sincere Christian love, Nan

1 comment:

  1. Nan, thank you so much for this message. I've read Kubler-Ross and love her writing. She handles the subject of grief with such a tender touch. Many years back I met Joni Eareckson-Tada - she is a beautiful person and an enormously talented artist. I'm glad you wrote about this today, since I planned on writing about attitude (for a different reason) in LfrL.

    This morning I woke up from a strange dream with my mother in it - I woke up crying and missing her. Yes, I'm still in the grief stages. Thank you for the message that God is always in control, no matter what. There are so many wonderful examples in what Joni Eareckson-Tada wrote about. Bless you, my friend.