27 Nov Abundant Comfort
You have cancer.
Three words that changed the trajectory of my sweet mom’s life only three months after my daddy’s death. In my opinion, the doctor who gave my mom the shocking news needed about 500 milligrams of “how-to-tell-someone-they-have-cancer” with a shot of grace and an IV of love and hope. What we thought was a simple ER visit for a swollen abdomen turned into the overwhelming diagnosis of stage three Ovarian Cancer. The next thing we know, mom is undergoing a list of tests, blood work, scans, chemotherapy, and an emergency surgery – all starting on her 81st Birthday.
One would think that living the past (now almost five) months as a widow would be tough enough. Never in her wildest dreams would she suspect that while she was taking care of my dad that this “silent cancer” was growing in her body. Thursday, October 12th, 2017 may have changed her life, but it did not change her heart.
Despite the diagnosis …
I have seen courage.
I have seen faith.
I have seen hope and determination.
I have seen my mom step into battle with her Sovereign Lord as a guide. Not bitter nor angry, but asking God for wisdom and direction as she charters these unknown waters.
I have seen my mom, who taught me and my three sisters to fight through difficult and uncertain times, maintain a Godly perspective. I have seen a woman with amazing inner strength still be the fun-loving, creative, and energetic mom we know her to be. I have seen a mom who knows that “in this world (she) will have trouble, but taking heart because she KNOWS who has overcome the world“ (John 16:34).
I have seen a BRAVE, FAITH-FILLED WOMAN.
While I have learned a lot these past six weeks, here are five things that God has taught me while oddly enough studying 2 Corinthians on divine comfort during affliction. (Kelly Minter’s Bible Study/All Things New)
- Trials teach us about God’s abundant compassion. God is the Father is ALL comfort and His compassion overflows in abundant proportion to our trials. Sometimes pain and uncertainty can cloud our faith. We start to wonder why? And how? We even begin to question God’s goodness and Sovereignty. But this is dangerous territory. Paul teaches us that trials are a time to deepen our faith and plunge into the hope of Christ. We need to open our eyes in times of distress and watch where He is working in our life. We need to look for the ways He is comforting us during times of difficulty – in God’s Word, through friends, neighbors, notes, dinners, daughters, nurses, doctors, even strangers. This will allow us to see the compassionate side of God and extend a heart of thankfulness.
- Trials can be for others, too. Believe it or not, there is a purpose in our pain. Our trials could be for someone else to know the intimacy and trust we have in Christ. Others will take note and see that the power, perseverance, and joy you have is ONLY from God and not from yourself (2 Corinthians 4:7). Trials also allow us to help and encourage others as they go through the same uncertainties. We can give credit and glory to the Father of compassion who comforts us in ALL our troubles. We can share about the One who met us in the difficulty and provided hope (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).
- Trials test our faith and deepen our personal relationship with Christ. Without uncertainty and difficulty, we would find ourselves only relying on – ourselves – and never leaning into the One who will help us and comfort us through them. Trials teach us to depend on God alone (2 Corinthians 1:9). Trials also teach us that Christ is trustworthy and will always go with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Kelly Minter says this, “There are certain parts of Jesus you just can’t know on a path of ease, and once you’ve tasted the closeness with Him you wouldn’t trade it for the smooth course” (All Things New, pg. 20).
- Trials are for sharing. 2 Corinthians 1:7 leaped off the pages of Scripture as I read Paul’s words, “And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so you also share in our comfort.” Why, you might ask, was this so profound to me? Because I have HOPE for my mom. And as I share in her sufferings, I also share in the overwhelming, powerful, abundant COMFORT that God is giving her as she perseveres.
- Trials are for praying. We have a long road ahead of us, and I ask for your prayers. Paul knew the power of prayers from many. God had delivered them and would continue to do so as the church continued to PRAY for them. Paul understood that when we pray, many will give thanks, God will be glorified, and faith will be spread!!! (2 Corinthians 4:18). So we must continue to pray and not lose hope.
One thing is for certain, I know my mom is not excited about this diagnosis. I know she is scared. I know she is not thrilled about losing her hair or for the unexpected emergency surgery two weeks after chemo started. I also know there will be future times of uncertainty and loneliness. But one thing we cling to, God who is the author of compassion will shower His comfort on her. I have already SEEN it! I have witnessed His amazing love and joy through her attitude, hope, and joyful outlook.
Five weeks ago, my sisters gathered around my mom on the beach to cast daddy’s ashes into his favorite fishing hole. We gathered around her with tightly-held hands, and tears, and prayed over her. We prayed for wisdom, strength, bravery, healing, joy, and many more birthdays. We are not letting her go so easily. We are the A team. (Her name is Anis.) I know it is no surprise that we also gathered weathered sticks and shells to make crosses to remember that very special day. These crosses will always be a reminder that yes, we have loved our parents dearly. But we have a Savior who loves us even more. He is exalted. ThouArtExalted in all situations, in all seasons, in days of praise and days of loss ~ even in the ’70’s when wearing the same color must have been cool. God is still good. I pray you will join me on this journey. ~ Annie
Do you know someone who is going through a trial right now? Fill in this blank,
“My Hope for you, _____________(name), is firm, because I know that as I share in your sufferings, so also I also share in your, _____________(name), comfort.
God will never leave the broken-hearted. He will never abandon His children. In fact, Jesus suffered for all of us so that we might live. The Savior of the world knows suffering first-hand. Therefore, we must believe, begin to pray, and join in the sufferings so we can also experience the abundant comfort He so graciously gives. Amen.