In the book “Derailed” by Neta and Dave Jackson the question was asked: “Why do we go through trials?” The pastor in the story referenced: II Corinthians 1: 3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the compassion we ourselves receive from God.”
It is a passage many of us have heard before. It is one that I need to hear often, one that seemed to be directed at me.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Between us, my husband and I had 7 surgeries that year. Why? What was God’s purpose in that?!
During my chemo and recovery time, I met several women who were going through tougher situations than mine; situations that involved family dysfunction, financial stress, multiple illnesses, or harsher treatments. I felt that my Father was caring for me; not because these other women were suffering more- but because He stirred me to care for them more and pray for them.
Giving Compassion is a Blessing
He also blessed me. Women (and men) whose hearts were open in compassion treated me kindly and helped me whenever possible, even by paying for a purchase or giving me a parking space. Soon after that, I had the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else.
The story in “Derailed” goes on to show that what we’re going through can often be meant to teach us something. It can equip us for something we have not previously been prepared for, and for unseen things ahead. I know now that if I am faced with a similar crisis in the future, I will cling to God and trust, rather than letting go in doubt. But trusting God, those loved ones around me will be more inclined to trust Him too.
Was my experience meant to help comfort others? Surely. But I didn’t see it at the time. Was it meant to equip me to minister to ladies who’ve been through similar experiences? Probably. I could not know that while still going through that journey.
This lesson expanded to another thought. God doesn’t waste anything.
The Compassion of Jesus
He uses these terrible situations to teach us and equip us, making us stronger and wiser. If we reach out to others as Christ has comforted us, and we comfort others with these lessons, we are growing in grace and compassion. How does that play out to those who receive these blessings?
It’s the gift keeps on giving.
The spirit of God compels us to reach out, to be more like Jesus. His spirit goes out to those in need; it does not stay dormant within us.
II Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be 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 overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.…
Those we have loved in Jesus’ name will see Him, through us. They’ll see an attitude of faith and joy. They’ll see a God of compassion. They in turn, can be filled with that same desire to know Him and to love as He has loved: with compassion.
Who can say how far that gift of compassion may go? Imagine it!
April Boyer © June 2014-2017