One of the greatest blessings in my life has been learning to look for grace in unexpected places. It may also be one of the hardest lessons that I have learned. There are typically two types of learners when it comes to these things; the ones who learn by watching or hearing of the experiences of others and those who have to actually go through something in order to learn from it and move on. I don’t know about you, but I have been seated in both of those seats and I would much rather learn from others if I have that option.
I would like us to take a look at a specific passage today that has meant a lot to me over the last ten years. Although grace is only mentioned once in the passage’s greeting, it is all about the grace and favor available to us through our relationship with Christ. For me personally, this passage came very alive at a time in my life when I felt that the floor had been snatched right from under me and that life as I knew it would never be the same. Hope was greatly in question and it was emotional pain like I had never known. I had absolutely no idea how I would navigate the future because I could not even imagine getting past this one moment; how could I find my footing and try to stand, much less try to take a step forward into the future. Everything had changed in a moment and ‘normal’ and ‘comfortable’ looked like it was gone forever. I know how dramatic that sounds, but you can ask my husband, I am not a dramatic person by nature.
We all experiences difficult times at some point in our life and it is often accompanied by pain. Pain is very relative. What I mean is if the greatest physical pain we have ever experienced is a severely inflamed hang nail, then for us that is the greatest pain. Likewise, for the one who has experienced the pain of giant kidney stones or multiple broken bones from an accident, the first persons pain is quite small. To be fair to all, we have to realize that pain is relative to what we have experienced. That first person will never understand the greater pain until they either experience it or see someone they love experience it.
Before I continue, Let me share the scripture passage:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.“ 2 Corinthians 1:1-5
So, here I am on the possibly the hardest night on my life, free-falling and not in a good way. (no parachute) What does one do when the worst thing they could imagine happens? How does one deal with it? I can only share with you what got me through that night and the weeks, months and couple of years that followed in hopes it might bring help and comfort if you ever find yourself in this situation. I found myself in a place that no individual could help me or bring comfort. I grabbed my Bible and kneeled on the living room floor with it open on the couch in front of me, laid my head on it and cried. I cried hard and loud as I cried out to the only One who could begin to understand and could change what was happening. I begged to know what I did that could have triggered or caused the events, how they could have been prevented…no answers. I was there for hours praying, waiting, listening until the wee hours. No answer came but in time a peacefulness began to seep into my heart little by little. In a while I was able to ask God to lead me to some scriptures to help me; He did. My peace increased; circumstances were the same. After hours, my heart calmed. Nothing had changed except I knew beyond a doubt that God was with me, He had the answers; He would take care of me even if nothing changed, I would be alright in time. I also got up from that place with an assurance that everything would be ok. It might be different, but it would be restored at some point. It was resolved in my heart that no matter what, I could trust my God.
My challenge to you is this; when you find yourself in one of those tough spots in life that tend to come around unexpectedly, turn to Him. The above passage promises abundant comfort. It also promises that when we have endured and found His comfort we are then equipped to be able to use that which we learned in our struggle to comfort others who may be going through a similar struggle. This is just one of the ways our trials and difficulties can be redeemed and we can learn to say like Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” Job 13:15a
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
for the display of His splendor.They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated“ Isaiah 61:1-4
My friends, grace and peace to you in the Name of the Lord Jesus!!