Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Comfortless Comforters

My Mom has a habit with every book she reads. She flips to the last few pages first and reads the ending. She can’t fathom reading through a couple of hundred pages at least and then discovering that there isn’t a happy ever after ending. Knowing how the novel ends gives her peace. Now she can enjoy reading the rest of the story. I used to think this was ridiculous! Wouldn’t it spoil the conclusion? I’ve discovered the very opposite is true. Instead, it heightens my appetite for the ending. You know the good part is coming and you can’t wait to get there. It’s sort of like watching your favourite movie for the tenth time. You know every detail of the plot, yet if you're anything like me, you still cry in the same scenes, and anticipate that climatic moment that has had you once again holding your breath.

Well, with the advice of my good friend, Elaine, I did skip to the end of the book of Job to remind myself of the victory to come. The Lord has helped me put my fears of yesterday into the faith of today. God is in control and I can trust Him without anxiety stealing my tomorrows.

Today’s reading reminded me so much of my last post on my other blog entitled, “He Sees”. What is my first response to a friend in need? I so much want to fix the problem. I see her pain and it tears me apart. I want to be able to give the advice she needs and infuse her with hope and strength. We begin to see today that not all advice is good advice and sincerity doesn’t equal truth. We can be sincerely wrong. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him…” I sadly at times have been that fool.

As I read through the account of Job as he interacts with his comfortless comforters, I pray the Lord will show me the do’s and don’ts of reaching out to others who are suffering. I believe I need to talk less, listen more and pray without ceasing.

Pain and suffering are a part of life. Although we would never welcome them, they do enrich our lives. Think for just a minute of some of the greatest gifts to us that have been birthed from our deepest pain. Hymn writer Horatio Spafford, after the loss of his four daughters in an Atlantic shipwreck, penned the words for “It Is Well With My Soul.” Ministries and organizations like “America’s Most Wanted”, have been formed by those who have experienced tremendous loss. If you are a Mom and you are reading this then you will understand when I say that our children are literally birthed from our deepest physical pain.

There is One though, who bore a deeper agony to give us our most precious gift. Christ’s deepest pain opened the door for our greatest joy. “Christ endured the agony of the cross so we could enjoy the glory of heaven.” (Quote taken from “Our Daily Bread”) Joy and pain are not incompatible. We can find comfort from the Lord who knows, and for some reason allows our lives to be touched with trouble. He is our comforting Comforter.

"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 have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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Laura said...

Hi there, Joy!

I understand what you say about skipping to the ending--though I can't bear to do this with a book, I have certain favorite movies that I love to watch over and over because of my favorite parts. Pride and Prejudice is one of them.

Yes, the story of Job is one worthy of skipping to the end. Sometimes I need that same reminder that in the end, He will be victorious.

He is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3).

I received your note in the mail today! I loved seeing your handwriting--it made me feel even closer to you!


Sita said...

Joy, how like God to direct me to this post after I just wrote about the soil of suffering producing greatness, almost like He is confirming His thoughts. This is beautiful, thank you.
And yes, you bear that title of Princess with a radiance. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts always.

lisasmith said...

I know how Job ends...I have refrained from posting it all today but certainly am encouraged to keep reading by keeping the end in sight!!

Suffering produces...faith, hope, character and the ability to have eyes that see and ears that hear.

Have a good night!!