Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction,[b] so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are afflicted, 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 that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
I am sure that, like me you have asked the question, “Why did God allow me to go through this difficulty or season of suffering?”
Over the years, I have heard messages, and we even sing hymns/songs where we hear that while we may not understand the why’s of suffering, but when we get to heaven, we will understand the big picture of why.
In my life, I have experienced lots of things that didn’t make sense: the loss of numerous childhood friends who died before I even turned 30. My mother-in-law’s house was damaged when the house next door burned down. My wife’s sister died of ovarian cancer. My Dad and Mom died early in life. We went through bankruptcy and lost just about everything. Our 2 ½-year-old granddaughter died after open-heart surgery.
Sometimes life stinks, and there are simply no answers as to why. But in 2 Corinthians 1, the Apostle Paul reminds us that in the midst of our suffering, God comforts us in all our affliction.
You have been there. Amid the pain and suffering, you have experienced that peace and comfort. But there is more to this. Paul goes on to write that “He comforts us so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction through the comfort we ourselves received from God.”
Our friends Marilyn and Glen Heavilin lost three children. The first child died before he turned one. Then she had twin boys. The one died the same way the first-born died. The second lived to eighteen and then was killed by a drunk driver. That makes no sense at all and seems so cruel and certainly would give most of us a reason to question God.
But over these many years, Marilyn and Glen have had hundreds of opportunities to come alongside others who have gone through tragedy by sharing their story, and how in the midst of horrendous grief, God has comforted them.
Marilyn wrote “Roses in December,” and thousands of people have been helped by the story about their tragedies.
Marilyn is on hospice care and can barely talk. She can get out in a wheelchair, but communication is difficult. Recently Glen took Marilyn out to eat, and they happened to overhear a conversation about their book, “Grief is a Family Affair.” Glen walked over to the table and introduced himself, and started to talk about the book. The lady shared that she had recently lost her 17-year-old son in a tragic automobile accident. She read a book called “Roses in December.” Glen said, “Would you like to meet the author of the book?” He wheeled Marilyn over to the table, and even with limited capacity to speak, God used Marilyn Heavilin to speak comfort and peace to this hurting lady.
How about you? Have you been through a difficult season in your life? We are amazed at how many times we have comforted others by sharing how God comforted our family through Lindsay’s illness and homegoing.
Think about how God has comforted you, and then use that as a springboard to comfort others. You will be blessed in ways you could never have imagined.
Living in light of the gospel,
Bill Welte, President/CEO
Write to Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his childhood sweetheart for 40+ years and has four married kids and 12 amazing grandkids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
Think About This: “A joyful life of grace toward others grows best in the soil of gratitude.” ―