The True Comforter

“It is finished.” — John 19:30

Since I have made my announcement on Facebook about HD, I have had a few of great responses both on this blog and my facebook. Many people have been very supportive in their entries and for that I want to thank them and God for being there and sharing some words of encouragement. Thank  you for your kind words!

With as many notices that I sent out, I was expecting more responses. I don’t say that with bitterness, I say it as a stated fact. My first and most compelling response came from non-churched agnostic friend who poured his heart out and brought tears to my eyes!! Thank you Eric for such a wonderful note and that it came from your heart!

However, I did not get a lot of responses from church people. Maybe they have read it and have not had time to respond. Or maybe they read and have forgotten to respond, God knows that happens to me a lot. Or maybe they don’t know how to respond because they don’t know what HD is and don’t know what to say to try to comfort me. Being a hospice chaplain helps me understand that people don’t always know how to express their feelings about things. So I tell them that they just need to be honest and say, “I am so sorry that you are going through this and I really don’t know what to say.” And if that person is a Christian, then let them know that you are praying for them as well as their family. Most people understand that it is difficult to cope with suffering in this world and that it takes time to be able to “grieve appropriately” so that doesn’t really bother me.  What bothers me is the fact that I would have hoped that Christians are better equipped to bring comfort in times like these.

Maybe it’s the fact that since I am being so positive about it that it gets them off the hook. Some maybe afraid that they are going to say the wrong things, like Job’s so-called friends and would prefer not to say anything as to not to offend God. When I look back at some of those who have gone through extreme suffering like Joni Ericksson Tada, and her accident that left her crippled at the age of 17 years old, I am reminded that the same thing happened to her: a lot of her friends headed for the hills! It’s not a condemnation. It’s the fact. We as humans are not wired and prepared for illness and death. It makes us very uncomfortable. When I started my training as a chaplain at Valley Baptist Medical Center in South Texas, I remember going home and throwing up for about an hour!! It took me 3 months of ICU and the ER to get rid of that feeling! By the grace of God, I was even able to be present at an autopsy without fainting!!

This is not who we are! We want something better. Sin and suffering are part of life but they have been conquered by Our Lord, Jesus Christ Who was resurrected on the third day with ETERNAL LIFE!! His mission, which was to conquer the devil and his mastery over death, was completed!

“…He (Christ) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death, He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject of lifelong slavery.” — Hebrews 2:14-15

Even Jesus own disciple, Peter had a hard time accepting His suffering and death. He said to Him, “You can’t do that!! We need You here with us!!” Peter misunderstood Jesus’ mission and purpose. The same happens to us. I have to remind myself that suffering has a purpose in God’s “old earth” and that ultimately it will be gone in the “new earth.” (Rev 21:1-4) Whatever my purpose is here, I have to remember that I need to bring all the glory to God!! My suffering is not my ultimate goal and mission. My goal and mission is to point to God Who sustains me in the midst of it!! I need to remember that even God uses people to comfort me, He is the True Comforter!

Prayer: Father forgive me if I have wasted my time moaning and groaning about myself. Let me focus not on me but on You. Let me bring honor and glory to Your Name. I know that David lamented and suffered while he was being persecuted and Jesus wondered if You had forsaken Him, but in the end they let go and let You take care of them. Help me to remember that You use people to bring me comfort but that ultimately it is You, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who gives me strength, peace, joy and happiness. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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