Monday, June 5, 2017

The Circle of Comfort





There is no way of learning faith except by trial.  
It is God's school of faith, 
and it is far better for us to learn to trust God
 than to enjoy life.
Days of Heaven Upon Earth



I happened upon this quote while reading my Streams in the Desert Devotional one evening.  Although I understood the concept, deep down I was saying, "But I want to enjoy life!"

As I pondered this quote further, I realized the author wasn't saying we shouldn't enjoy life, but that in accepting trials from our Heavenly Father's loving hands as a means for learning to trust in Him, we will yield surpassing joy above and beyond the passing enjoyments of life.

If we are living a life devoid of trials and tribulations, that would mean we have already crossed over from this earthly life to eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.

For we have His great and wonderful promise...

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or
 mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” 
And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” 
Revelation 21:4

But indeed, this side of Heaven, we are told there will be trouble...

Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34b

But God has not left us alone in our sufferings and trials as Pilgrims in a foreign land...  He is with us every step of the way,  redeeming our troubles as a means to strengthen our faith as we learn to trust Him.

It is in the hard learning that the Lord shows Himself faithful through his great and many promises. 

If we were to do a study of God's promises, we would see that most of His promises directly relate to what HE will do to help us and to comfort us.


The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:14

He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.
Isaiah 40:29

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; 
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

Blessed are those who mourn, 
for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

Just to name a few...

I'm sure if we just thought upon the promises I shared above, we could say yes and Amen that we have seen God's faithfulness through each of the scenarios presented in those promises.

One by one, we see that God's promises never fail...


In "God's School of Faith" the motto is...

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, 
but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness 
to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

where our teacher is the Holy Spirit

our text book is the Bible, 

our lessons are the trials and tribulations of life, and

our homework is to comfort others in the way we have been comforted...


The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, entrusts us to be agents of His comfort...


Blessed be 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. For just as the sufferings of Christ 
overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.…
2 Corinthians 1:4

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,  and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7


The comfort we receive from the Lord in our own trials will provide opportunity for us to help someone who is going through the same or similar trial.

I can't tell you how many times I may have had a quirky health situation arise that I found disconcerting and then mentioned it in passing to someone to which they have responded, "Oh!  I've had that happen to me and it ended up being nothing or it only lasted a few days and then it went away."  The immediate relief would just wash over me.  

Comforting, God-sent words at just the right moment.

Or the anxious situations I've been in where I am on my own in an outside of my comfort zone circumstance, and suddenly this friendly face will come along, either someone I know or even someone that I don't know who just puts me at ease and makes me feel comfortable.

We need not fear being outside of our comfort zone, because God will send comfort...

Or what about those people who exude comfort and peace.  When just being around them makes you feel at peace.  I want to be like them!!

Sadly, of late, with all the rain we've been having in these here parts, I am exuding stress and turmoil.  Ahhh!  

I was convicted particularly about this last night when I read the following excerpt from Guarded by Christ: Knowing the God Who Rescues and Keeps Us ,by Heather Holleman

"When people were in my presence, did they feel more at peace, more blessed and  more refreshed?  Or did I invite them into a turbulent inner being marked by instability, selfishness and a draining of energy?  Was I so toxic inside that I drained life from others?  Or did I radiate the indwelling refuge of Christ to others and invite them into a sanctuary?"

As Children of God, indwelt by the Comforter, we should be exuding that comfort.  When people are in our presence, they should feel Christ's peace emanating from us.  In a recent blog post that you can read here, I wrote about Joey Feek who literally glowed with the peace of Christ, even as she was facing imminent death from cancer.  I was in awe of the peace and calmness that showed upon her face, and her comforting presence even when she was in the midst of such a fiery trial.  Truly God had comforted her and that comfort was shining forth.

I can say with all transparency that, unlike Joey, I fight and kick my way through trials.  It's not pretty, and it's certainly not peaceful.   

And although we are not called to enjoy trials, we are called to joy in them...

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.
1 Peter 4:13

Jesus has called us to live a joyful, abundant life - an abundant life that He ordained to have trials and tribulations that will never be wasted, but will be redeemed for our good and the comfort of others.

May we all, like Joey, "offer a weary world refreshment and a sense of joy because we represent the living God to others."  {Excerpt from Guarded by Christ}


“Why must I weep when others sing?
’To test the deeps of suffering.’ 
Why must I work while others rest?
’To spend my strength at God’s request.’ 
Why must I lose while others gain?
’To understand defeat’s sharp pain.’ 
Why must this lot of life be mine 
When that which fairer seems is thine?
’Because God knows what plans for me 
Shall blossom in eternity.’”
Streams in the Desert


Join me next week when I'll share what the Lord has recently taught me about how to truly experience the abundant life Christ desires all of us to live.



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14 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read your next post on the abundant life! This post really ministered to me tonight. I have often thought of how of all the names Jesus could have referred to the precious Holy Spirit, He called Him The Comforter. Such a dear thought to know that He will always be with us, no matter what. I loved what you said, "We need not fear being outside of our comfort zone, because God will send comfort." It is so wonderful to know that He can reach to the uttermost...regardless how far someone strays or how deep into the pit of despair or how far outside their realm of comfort...HE can still reach those places!! I always leave here so refreshed in spirit. I am so thankful for you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl, Awe, you are so sweet. I finished writing that post today and I'm hopeful that it will bring fresh eyes to the abundant life as it did for me. :-)

      Amen! Indeed He can reach us to the uttermost.

      Thank you for always leaving such thoughtful and heartfelt comments. You mean so much to be dear friend.

      I hope you are feeling better. I continue to lift you up to the Great Physician and the God of all Comfort.

      Sending you much love.

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  2. I liked what you said about not being called to enjoy the trails, but being called to joy. I'm not sure I put into words what the difference is, but it does make sense. :)

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    1. Kelli, I know what you mean. It can be hard to truly understand the difference between joy and enjoying.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I appreciate it! :-)

      Blessings,

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  3. Amen! Thanks for linking up, Karen. Growth is good, though it hurts in process. He never leaves us to go through it alone.

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    1. Meg, You are very welcome! :-)

      Indeed and Amen!

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Dear Karen,
    I love that you started your post with a quote from "Days of Heaven Upon Earth." I have read that devotional by A.B.Simpson many times! And your thoughts here, "Jesus has called us to live a joyful, abundant life - an abundant life that He ordained to have trials and tribulations that will never be wasted, but will be redeemed for our good and the comfort of others," fit so well with the theme of His devotional also. Jesus is even now redeeming the trials we must walk through. Thank you for your precious encouragement tonight. Blessings to you!

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    1. Bettie, I had never heard of that devotional before I read Streams in the Desert.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      You are welcome.

      Blessings to you on this Lord's Day. :-)

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  5. So true as you say when we have a concern whether medical or otherwise, it does seem God sends someone's words to comfort us. I like how you say the our teacher is the Holy Spirit and our textbook is the Bible, etc. Also, finding and writing down all the promises would be a good endeavor. There are many written and otherwise. Thanks for your sharings here. Good food for thought. :)

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    1. Pea Bea, Thank you for leaving such a kind and thoughtful comment. I appreciate it!

      You are very welcome!

      Blessings,

      Delete
  6. "It is far better for us to learn to trust God than to enjoy life." What a hard truth for us to accept, but what a better life it could create! Thank you for sharing this on the #sundaythoughts link up. It is a concept we all need to be reminded of...continually.

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    Replies
    1. Jamie, Indeed and Amen!

      You are very welcome!

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

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  7. I find the idea that life is about learning to trust rather than enjoyment much easier to swallow for myself than for my children! Thank you for this reminder today. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

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    Replies
    1. Tina, You have a very good point there. :-) May we lead by example.

      You are welcome!

      Blessings,

      Delete

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