spiritualsnippets.com

Seeing life's events in the light of God's Word.

In The Midst of Devastating Loss

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2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts using all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

It happened at a fourth of July barbecue. 

Gerald was holding his daughter while he visited with Tom. As he got engrossed in their conversation, he didn’t notice when little Tina wriggled from the safety of his arms.

Minutes later, she was face down in the swimming pool.

Gerald loved his daughter. He had been entrusted with the the child’s safety, but he had failed to keep her from harm.

Why did God allow this to happen?

This is one of those questions that both Christians and non-christians ask in the midst of devastating loss.

There is no easy answer. 

After all, we reason, what good could possibly come from the death of a youngster—a little one with all of life ahead of them?

While saying, “God took her home” or “It’s all in God’s timing,” may be true, family and friends still have to deal with untimely loss—and, often—anger toward God.

God understands our feelings. He wants us to voice them to Him. He has also provided in His Word, encouragement for us when we experience the worst of times.

Gerald found many verses in the Bible that comforted him and his wife during the days following Tina’s death, but the verse I share with you, today, is one that he read many months later when he was called on to comfort a co-worker that lost a child in a car accident.

When he read this verse, Gerald realized that because of his loss and the comfort God gave him, he was then able to comfort a friend and, eventually, lead the friend to Christ!

We may not know, specifically, why tragedies happen at the time they occur, but as children of God, we can demonstrate His comfort and enduring love for others.

 

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Comforting Others

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2 Corinthians 1:3,4-  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.”

 

“Mama, Mama! I’s hurted,” Randy runs to his mother’s waiting arms with tears streaming down his face.

Jenny picks him up, sets him on the counter and inspects his skinned knee. “It’s going to be all right, son. I’ll wash it off and put on a bandage. You’ll be good as new.”

Comfort.

Arlene fluffs the pillow of an elderly parent.

Tiffany paints a picture for a classmate who has the mumps.

We listen to the troubles of a  dear friend.

Comfort.

It’s part of what we humans are to offer one another in times of trouble.

Just as Jesus was aware of the needs of others and offered them consolation, He teaches us to recognize the hurt around us and comfort others with the love of Christ.

Today, God is asking me to reach out, specifically, to a friend who does not have a relationship with Him. Mourning the loss of someone close to her, she has no hope for the future. 

“Lord,” I pray, “How does one console someone who doesn’t know you?”

As I read the verses from 2 Corinthians once more, the answer comes: “…with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

 

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Character Arc

Acts 9:27– “(Barnabas)…brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”

Yesterday, at a writing workshop, we discussed the “character arc”. This simply means the change that happens within the character, over the course of a movie or book. In other words, the growth resulting from what they learn along their journey…the transformation.

Real life is like that, too, isn’t it? It’s a journey. Hopefully, we learn a lot along the way so that, by the end, we are not the same person we were when we started out.

We’ve changed.

Paul was someone with a HUGE character arc. He went from being a persecutor of Christians to being called of God on the road to Damascus.

What made the change?

It was the experience of meeting Jesus.

He was transformed from being a person filled with hate to a man so filled with compassion and love for others that he spent the rest of his life as a missionary, taking God’s message wherever he was led.

The change on the inside was manifested by a change on the outside—in his actions and behavior that everyone could see.

Because of this, he was beaten, thrown into jail, and eventually martyred.

This is character arc of the highest degree. A person so changed that he willingly gives his life for the cause.

There are brave people in our world right now who are being persecuted and killed for their belief in God. When asked if they are Christians, they bravely answer “yes”, giving their lives for the sake of the cross.

We may not ever face death for our beliefs, but let’s ask ourselves if we are willing to give our lives for our beliefs…an hour or two a week to help those in need…60-90 minutes to share the gospel?

If we know Jesus—if we have met Him and allowed Him to change us as we journey our own Damascus Road—then we will be willing to help bring His message to a lost and dying world.

One hour, one day, one compassionate act at a time.

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Spread the Joy!

Matthew 6:31– “Do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?”

A few years ago, we vacationed in Hawaii. We enjoyed the slower pace, the relaxed atmosphere. We also enjoyed the island music.

One popular song which played over and over the week we were there was “Don’t Worry; Be Happy.”  We couldn’t help but sing it throughout the day. It was a catchy tune with a positive message.

God’s Word reminds us that worrying about anything is useless and counter-productive. Instead, God says that real happiness is found, not in wishful thinking, but in obedience to His Word.

Our focus needs to be on others—not on ourselves. We will find that when we take steps to help a neighbor, donate our time at a local food bank, or visit a shut-in, we will forget about ourselves, leaving our worries up to our Lord. As acts of service and worship, when we act as the hands and feet of Jesus, we will find His provision for our own needs to be more than enough.

We will find that we are never depleted, but that He is continually refilling our reserves of energy and compassion toward those whom Jesus has called on us to serve. When we follow His example, we find that our joy (yes, not superficial happiness, but deep spiritual joy) overflows!

Don’t worry! Spread the joy!

Brenda

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