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.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
The Christian lady I am thinking of never met me. She heard about me from some mutual friends. Being a very kind and sympathetic lady she decided to write to me about her experience with cancer.
This gentle lady, 25 years my senior, wrote to me because she heard that I had just recently been diagnosed with cancer. She wrote as one cancer patient to another.
Many of my friends had sent cards, phoned and visited me to offer sympathy and to assure me of their prayers. Their love shall never be forgotten.
However, to hear from another person who was a cancer patient was really special. She told me that 20 years earlier, she too had cancer and then surgery to deal with it.
Somehow her story of success with this dread disease did a lot to help me feel that the Lord was going to be with me as He was with her. I read the Scriptures that had comforted her and they spoke to me as well.
She told me that no one is guaranteed of success in the battle with cancer but she had so many wonderful experiences of the grace of God that the journey with this disease was worth it.
No one in their right mind chooses the path of suffering in life but when it comes our turn to walk this road we need to look to those who have journeyed this way before us.
There is little in life as strengthening as to hear of God’s grace in someone else’s life. Someone who endured sorrow and discovered the great grace of God and how sufficient it was in their time of crisis.
This is what our verse is saying. That woman who wrote to me long ago was fulfilling the work of our verses. She did not know how the Lord was going to help me. She simply told me how He helped her. That was enough.
If you are in pain today look for a Christian who has experienced a similar sorrow in life and ask them how the Lord strengthened them. You will both be blessed. Or, perhaps it is time you told someone else how the Lord ministered to you in your difficulty. Now that is real comfort.