Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. - 2 Cor. 1:3-4
Experiencing hurtful circumstances is like going through surgery. There is pain, fear, and a tense time of waiting, but there is also reassurance from the surgeon, comfort from the nurses, and get-well wishes from friends. Sitting in a waiting room while surgery is performed on someone we love can be just as painful, sometimes more so, than undergoing the procedure ourselves. Afterward, there may be physical therapy along with a period of slow healing. The eventual outcome is a healthier person.
Spiritual surgery isn't too much different from the physical type, except the roles are played by Someone we can't see. The Surgeon who cuts away the harmful or destroyed tissue doesn't have an MD next to His name. He is higher and greater than any physician on earth, and His name is Jehovah-Ropheka, the Lord our healer. The role of the nurse who administers physical comfort is now taken over by the Holy Spirit, the One whom Jesus sent after Himself to be our Comforter. As we submit ourselves to the ministrations of God, we can expect a transformation, but it's rarely a season of ease. Most often, this operation is an ordeal of painful consequence, but one of necessity. The spiritual waiting room can be lonely and frightening unless we allow God to shed His light around us.
God has brought to my attention recently, something of which we are all aware, but often lose sight of. It's easy to forget that others are struggling through difficult circumstances when our own situation looms as a daunting mountain. All around us are people who have lost loved ones, perhaps they are fighting to keep their head above troubled financial waters, watching disturbing events unfold in their lives and having no power to change them, or experiencing the ache of watching a child make unwise, and potentially disasterous choices.
When God allows us to walk through a dark and frightening valley, of course we can rejoice in the comfort of knowing He is as close to us as our very breath. There are others around us, traveling through similar pain, but our focus is on ourselves, our loved ones, our situation, and hopefully our God. If I've learned nothing else in the past three years, it's that God never wastes a hurt, and nothing takes Him by surprise.
During our time of healing, the blinders fall away from our eyes, and we become aware of those hurting people around us. Their situation may not be exactly like ours, but their pain is just as real. As our surgical scars begin to heal and God brings renewed strength, we are confronted with opportunities to be a blessing to others. It might be a ministry we didn't desire or choose, but one for which God prepared us through our own journey through pain.
Those who struggle around us take on a new importance. We are given a fresh look at the pain of others. Because we've been there ourselves, compassion loans us insight into their struggle. Allowing God to use us to minister to these is akin to working side by side with the Holy Spirit as He pours out comfort, mercy, and grace.
When we enter into a time of spiritual surgery, we need do so with a watchful heart. No doubt God is preparing us to be a vessel for His use. It's up to us whether or not we allow God to fill us and use us. What a waste it would be if we discarded all that pain and heartache we encountered and let the memories of God's comfort and mercy crumble into dust.
Thanks for letting me share my heart.
Reprinted by permission of the author, Connie Stevens, from her website, www.conniestevenswrites.com.