Monday, August 3, 2009


Startled by the commotion outside my hospital room, I looked up to see a nurse pushing a stretcher through the door. A roommate! Thus ended my quiet time. I was perturbed at the thought of having to share my room.

The patient was a young girl, about 17 or 18 as I remember. She was crying as she scooted over to the bed. She was alone. I learned that she was single and had been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. Her family had not yet arrived. Hospital staff hustled about. There were questions to ask, vital signs to take, an IV to start, nail polish to remove. I left my "prayer chair" and moved to her bed to hold her hand and explain what was happening from a nurse's and a patient's standpoint. I tried to provide comfort until her family arrived and she was whisked off to surgery.

This all took place in Florida. We eventually moved back to Georgia. Some years later, friends from Florida visited our church. We had been in a share group with this couple in Georgia before they moved to Florida, but hadn't seen them for years, even in Florida after we were transferred there for a season. (I know--it's complicated.)

Anyway, I still don't know how we began to talk about this experience. But it turned out that they went to the same church that this girl and her family did. They told me how the family had shared with their church about a roommate who had provided comfort to them and their daughter.

Wow! It's seldom that we hear how some small act may have touched another person. We will not see most of our crown jewels this side of heaven. God graciously gave me a glimpse into what it means to be able to comfort someone going through the same trial with the comfort He gives me. Even if it's something that appears like a very small thing.

It really is all about Him. Hes in control of everything in our lives, even when it seems like life is spinning out of control. He uses our pain to refine and strengthen us, and as we come out of the fire, we can walk with others through theirs. With our scars, we can help heal. And through it all, He can be glorified.

You see, I know what it's like for another to struggle with infertility. I know what it is like for another to suffer a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. I know what it is like to avoid church on Mother's Day. In fact, I remember having to flee a service when the children in our little church were asked to stand up and tell their mothers they loved them. And pastors, trust me...there are women in your congregation with aching arms who do not want to hear that they can mother other children. They can receive that when the pain eases, but not when it's raw. I know what it's like to ask all the "what if" and "why" questions. I know what it's like to experience loss.

I also know what it's like to gain because of loss.

God had other plans for us that involved their own joys as well as days of intense fear and pain. We walked through flames we never imagined, had experiences and contacts with people we would never have chosen to associate with.

Why? For refinement. So He could provide comfort. So we could give comfort.

It's all about getting our eyes off ourselves and on Him who knows every hair on our heads. The One who holds us and weeps with us. The One whose ways are not our ways, who does not count time according to our time clock. It's about trusting and resting day by day and allowing Him to work in all the details, to work good out of our perceived bad.

It really is all about Him.

"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 have received from God." II Corinthians 1:3-4

When have you received His comfort? What will you do with that?

Note: See also post on July 31.

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