In our distress, he too is distressed. In our grief, he also grieves. In our confusion, he calls to us. He waits for us, where we left him last.
Yesterday I met a stranger who is fed-up and utterly underwhelmed by his job. He said, “Sometimes I lose the will to live.”
I had no wise answer, no words of encouragement, even though I have been in those same shoes as well. But I made a comment and this person started laughing. And then I remembered, this is how God often comforts me.
For, “we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) In my troubles God gives me laughter. A clumsy mistake with a funny antic. A sudden ACHOO in a silent library. Watching a duck skid on ice.
Each of us can pass on the comfort God gives us.
So often the Bible tells me the opposite of what I want to hear. When our house got trashed by renters, steam shot out of my ears. But then Derek drew me aside and we read the Bible. It said, “Rejoice!” God was in control. He had things in hand.
Or there was the time when someone made a decision that caused me a lot of pain. I stomped and cried in the private of my room. But the same thing happened again. Derek drew me aside. We prayed. A verse. Yes, it was, “Rejoice!”
Just today I was reading where Jesus healed the sick. “And people brought to him all who were ill… those suffering severe pain… and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)
Sometimes, those of us who are hurt can’t seem to get to Jesus by ourselves. We need others to bring us close. And then we can hear that wonderful word. “Rejoice!” God is in control. He has things in hand.
A couple of weeks ago I put diesel fuel into a second-hand car we had just bought. I filled the tank, but then had a second thought. I rang home to clarify. “Erm… Is the car a diesel?”
“Oh, Eva!” came Derek’s gracious reply. “You should have filled it with unleaded. I’ll get to you as soon as I can.”
I ended up stranded for three long hours, waiting for someone to come empty the tank. Yes, I was upset, but I felt safe. Derek sat beside me in the freezing cold night.
God does the same. He says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you…” (Isaiah 42:10) We don’t ever have to feel alone when we mess up.
Have you ever been so upset, you dared not speak? I recently was, even though I did all the right things. Count to ten. Take deep breaths. Try to see things from another perspective.
Nothing helped, and all I accomplished was losing sleep and gaining five pounds in weight. I cried out to God, “Help me.”
A simple thought came to mind… “Focus on God.”
I shifted my gaze from the pain within, to a verse on the kitchen window sill. “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and rich in love.” (Psalm 145:8) I caught my breath. I had been feeling the opposite. It was time to realign with God.
Do you have verses around the house to help you regain perspective?
There are times when the waves of life roll in, crashing on our shores. A couple of weeks ago I almost lost someone very dear to me. Now someone else is slipping away. I keep thinking, “It’s going to be hard to survive this loss.”
Then, out of the blue a text came in the night. Someone passed on a message to me. “Eva, I am for you!” From God.
I would like to share this same message with you. Have you been up most of the night? Are you experiencing some kind of grief? Could it be a decision you have to make? Or, maybe you don’t feel strong enough to stand up against a wrong? Whatever it is, God is for you. Let him be with you. You are safe.
A few days ago I experienced something painful in my heart. I prayed that God would send me someone to help me regain perspective. I set off on a walk. Maybe I would meet this person, and maybe they would stop me. But, I wouldn’t take the initiative, I would let God do it.
I had barely started out when a virtual stranger stopped me. She asked me how I was.
I was taken aback, and didn’t want to share. But I had prayed, and God had done his part. I had better do mine. I told her what was going on. “I’ve been there too,” she said. “It isn’t your fault…”
God does answer our prayers! But, we too have to do our part.
A few days ago someone assured me that I could still fulfill a dream I had as a youth. I had wanted to become a medical doctor, but no matter how hard I tried, the door slammed shut again and again. This ‘someone’ encouraged me to go back to school.
I declined. My doctor dream may have been totally crushed, but God replaced it with something else. You see, our talents can be expressed in many different ways. I had wanted to help people’s bodies to heal, but God wanted me to help people’s hearts
What about you? Has your life turned out different than you had hoped? Do you feel like it has been ruined? Don’t give up hope. Seek God’s perspective. Let him redirect you and you will find life.
Sometimes what we experience is not understood. “But I do!” people might say. “I can totally relate! It’s just like when I got a bicycle puncture. Deflating.”
Our heart sinks. We fall silent. We feel like we are sitting at the bottom of a deep well. Alone. Unheard. If only someone understood. If only we could share our heart.
Yet, something good can come out of a well. There is a light, and it is up above. It makes us lift our heads. There is a person we can talk to – God.
Jeremiah also ended up in a well. He said, “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You came near and said, ‘Do not fear.’“ (from Lamentations 3: 55-57)
It hardly ever happens. Derek and I stopped. We stood in a beech wood. There was no wind, no noise, no people, just us. We watched leaves fall from the trees, one every few seconds. We heard the “plif” as each one landed.
Life is like that. We can’t hear anything until we stop. Today I heard an agitated voice. I listened to the silence behind their words, and I heard the “plif.” What that person actually meant was, “I feel so alone. No one listens to me. Please accept me.”
Jesus stops with us in the silence behind our words. He wants us to hear his “plif.” “I comfort all who mourn… I bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (from Isaiah 61:2-3)