One of my recent devotionals was entitled, Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable.
This is one of those seasons that is very uncomfortable for many of us. It has been heartbreaking, messy, uncertain, and downright devastating. Our community has come face to face with tragedy, and everywhere we turn, people are looking for comfort and hope in the midst of their pain. As He always does, God will meet us with comfort and scripture to help heal the pain when we seek Him. The passages below are some that most of us already know, but sometimes we just need a good reminder to keep our perspective in line with His. I know I do.
In Philippians 3, Paul shares about all he had attained (a lot), and then all he had lost because the ungodly people that hated his Christian witness. He writes that he counted all he had acquired as rubbish, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Christ compassionately invites us to a deeper level of intimacy with Him in our darkest hours of discomfort. That is the fellowship of His suffering. There is no pain that He doesn’t know, and no suffering that takes Him by surprise. When Paul lost his reputation, health, and his home, he sought a higher purpose in service for the Lord. He prayed more, He evangelized, discipled others, and served God wherever he was. Paul’s fellowship with Christ was the sweetest when life was the hardest. And through Christ, Paul grew comfortable with the uncomfortable.
2 Corinthians 1:5 says, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds though Christ.” God doesn’t want us to deny our pain or stuff it down inside us, but He does want us to process it openly in a loving community, and with our Savior who died for us. Facing our pain honestly leads to victorious, faithful living. In Christ we grow comfortable with the uncomfortable, because our hope is in heaven.
Facing our pain honestly leads to victorious, faithful living.
Because He’s taken our burden of pain and suffering, He wants us to, carry each other’s burdens so we can fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2. What does that look like? If I have given my burden to God, I am free to help carry someone else’s burden and minister to them the way Christ has ministered to me in my sorrow. 2 Corinthians 1: 3–4 says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Pastor Greg Laurie writes about the pain he and his wife suffered at the death of their son, Christopher. But he goes on to say that because they lost their son, they have a much larger and broader ministry to families than they would have otherwise. Was it a ministry he would have chosen? No. But he is grateful that God has used them in so many people’s lives because of his tragedy.
God’s plan for His only Son was not what the people hoped for or were expecting as they celebrated Jesus’ arrival on that first Palm Sunday. They were devastated when Friday happened, because they didn’t know Sunday was coming. Our message to those facing loss is that Sunday is coming! Jesus rose from the grave by the grace of God to save and redeem us. He has plans for us that include a hope and a future, even when our plans are dashed and we can’t see beyond the overwhelming loss of now. Sunday is coming!
1 Peter 5:8-11 from The Message:
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—(eternal and glorious plans they are!) will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; Yes, He does.
With a grateful heart,
Early Childhood Director