“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.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
There are no shortcuts to maturity. Suffering is another painful step toward maturity. It must be fully experienced to move forward. I watched on television a touching story of a retired Marine who helped a young Marine war veteran with unpredictable and agonizing PTSD. Both struggled greatly but they did so together. The older veteran said, “You’re not a victim. You’re a survivor.” Big difference! Their relationship became a beautiful work of faith.
Have you known someone who lost a pet and knew exactly how you felt when you lost yours?
Helping single young women start and maintain a career was my fondest and most challenging redemptive experience. Not victims. Survivors.
AA was founded by two alcoholics who could not stay sober. No longer victims of alcohol. Survivors.
Many in police work lost a loved one to crime.
Many abused children grow up and foster/counseled troubled and at-risk children. True and miraculous survivors.
Jesus was and is the perfect example of redemptive suffering. Easter. Resurrection Day!
Redemptive suffering. We become empathetic witnesses to the person suffering. A very critical step in healing. We comfort with the comfort our Lord gives.
The Apostle Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, hungry and cold to the point of death. Yet, he raised a boy from the dead (see Acts 20) and healed many but not himself. Luke seemed to be Paul’s constant companion and doctor to help heal his wounds—no quick fix for Paul. But his letters are rich with love, hope and grace, as a result of his pain. Redemptive suffering.
It stays with us, those scars of abuse, betrayal and abandonment but they’re not the whole story and not who we are. We become survivors and then Overcomers. Our stories are the redeemed feelings, wisdom and scar tissue we use to help others. We are commanded to comfort others, once we are secure with our Father and the loss. The loss you’ve experienced will not go unnoticed or prove not unfruitful, even though the understanding of our Father’s will in it may not be clear. Trust. Faith. Love.
We know that your ways are not our ways. We know leaning on our own understanding and not yours is dangerous. We can only comfort others with the comfort You abundantly pour on us. Help us be grateful despite suffering because we know You will use it for good. Now and forever.