I talked with a fellow the other night who had just lost his wife after 63 years of marriage. The tall, slightly stooped man with a gentle manner told me of the 19-year old that he had been, who had married his 15-year old sweetheart.
They made a life together.
Sixty-three years! There’s no way that loss doesn’t hurt. No way that doesn’t change his life. We try to avoid hurt as much as possible but there’s no way to miss it all.
But, is there hope beyond the ache? Healing? Will the sting ever go away?
Yes … and no.
The pain will always be there, though the intensity is different. That’s not necessarily bad. It’s bearable because He helps us bear it.
Jesus said that we would have tribulation in this world. Paul endured shipwrecks, beatings, and jail terms. His battle for the gospel had nearly gotten him killed. At times he thought he was a goner. (2 Cor. 1:8, 9)
Yet he remained effective in life because God constantly healed him. The only pain that can’t be healed is the pain we refuse to take to Him and ask for help.
And here’s a secret result of our battles. When we combat in faith Jesus gives us a powerful gift. The God of all comfort ” … comforts us in all our tribulations…” (2 Cor. 1:3, 4, NKJV).
We receive heaping helpings of comfort and consolation that we can share with others.
So, what do we do if pain knifes through us? Is there hope beyond the trial?
How do we receive consolation??
–We let God console us. We take it to Him … honestly, brokenly. God can’t ignore a broken heart that comes to Him. He hovers near the broken-hearted.
–We pray for each other. “Please help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all these prayers.” (2Co 1:11, CEV ) Don’t forget to PRAY for those who hurt. You do help by praying!
–We take the gift of God’s consolation and we console others. People who have been hurt and receive God’s consolation are uniquely placed to help others who are hurting–identifying with them, but more. They bring the same help from God that they received.
It’s as if the healing that the patient received in the hospital qualified him to be a doctor, gave him understanding and skill. It’s true. We receive something tangible to give to others when we are healed. We become more effective healers and we can bring God’s healing to bear in many situations. (2 Cor. 1:4!)
A lady in our church several years ago told me of a wrenching experience. Mary had had a breast removed because of cancer. It was traumatic physically, emotionally and spiritually. She joined a group that helped others who had the same surgery.
“The first time I went into a hospital room and I saw that woman lying in the bed after surgery, I knew exactly what she felt,” she told me.
Part of healing is identification. I think that’s why Jesus would lay his hands on people. That may be why He wept at Lazyrus’ tomb. There’s a powerful healing ingredient in identification. When the hurting person knows that someone else understands her hurt, that she’s not the only one who ever felt that way, the healing process begins.
But, identification isn’t enough. We pray, thereby bringing God’s power into play. If we want healing, we’ve got to have God in the house! Prayer in faith brings His muscle on the scene. Identification makes the connection for God’s power to flow into that situation.
Everyone reading these words has been hurt at one time or another.
Is there hope beyond hurt? “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all…” (Ps. 34:18, 19 CEV)
And the consolation we receive in the battle is a gift with which we comfort others.
“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.” (2 Cor. 1:5-7, The Message)
“How is your spiritual life going? I used to answer this question by looking at the state of my devotional activities: Did I pray and read the Bible enough today? The problem is that by this measure the Pharisees always win. People can be very disciplined, but remain proud and spiteful.” John Ortberg in his book, “The Me I Want To Be”
Don’t argue with an idiot; the people watching may not be able to tell the difference. (Internet)