Journal Entry ~ 11/06/17

29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.  - Psalm 107:29-30

Understanding why God allows the storms in our lives is critical to calming the storms - He knows how important it is for us to understand the reasons behind the waves beginning to rise, that’s why He put those answers in Scripture for us. We know His plan in our trials is so that we esteem redemption more than we esteem a comfortable life, we know He wants to refine and grow our faith in our trials, but we also find evidence that He wants us to comfort others in their afflictions. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. 

God’s great plan for this world is that it would be filled with great comforters, caring for one another as He cares. The problem is our natural tendency is toward judgment, not comfort. We see a homeless man on the street, and we question the choices he made in life that led him to live in a box; we see a mother in a grocery store with a screaming child, and we wonder why she can’t control her child; we hear of a family struggling with a child who has an addiction or depression, and we judge the permissive way they raised their child; we see our sister or a friend struggling, and we think they deserve if for all their foolish choices; we watch our own children struggle with the same things we did, and we judge their actions rather than show them grace.  Our natural tendency is toward self-righteousness, and our disposition is toward judgment. We name ourselves as wise and capable, then we look down on others who haven’t achieved what we have accomplished - whether it’s in position or possession, lessons learned and wisdom gained, or even in where God has moved us in our faith. If another person isn't where we’re at in our walk, we look down our noses at them in judgment. 

So God humbles us. He will allow storms into our lives that expose our weakness, our foolishness, our immaturity to remove those elements of self-righteousness. I remember the painful storm of walking through my father’s suicide in the midst of my own children being hospitalized for depression and suicidal thoughts. Though I had come in contact with many who struggled with depressive thoughts in my life, and even counseled a few, I had never truly understood depression until this point in my life. Scripturally, I understood God’s plan and could use His Word to bring comfort to others in their trials, but my heart lacked to compassion to understand the pain behind depression. In the moment, my father’s death made no sense to me. It felt chaotic and out of control, and I vividly remember crying out to Him, wondering what He could possibly be doing. But in those days and weeks that followed, God humbled me. He opened my eyes and my heart to the struggle that others experience, and changed the way I view the struggle with depression. 

God will allow the storms into our lives so that when we cry out for His comfort, our hearts will become tender to those around us who need the same comfort. No longer is your agenda about you and your comforts.  Now it is about bringing that comfort to others. The hard moments in your life aren’t just about you being refined and grown in your faith, but they are there so that you may bring His grace and love to people in your life who struggle with the same trial. Anyone who’s walked through a difficult trial and has encountered someone who has walked the same path, can instantly feel comfort in the presence of that person without a word being said. If you’ve loved an addict, you feel comforted in the presence of someone who know that same pain; if you’ve lost your house, or your marriage, if you’ve lost a parent or a child, you find His comfort and strength sitting with others who intimately know your pain. 

You see, THAT’S been His plan all along - that the world would be filled with great comforters. Our tendency is toward self-righteousness and judgment, so how does He tenderize our hearts? By putting us in the very suffering that others in our lives experience, so that we understand what kind of comfort others need. What a beautiful plan. 

I’ve had the joy of encountering many people with cancer in this journey, friends who are dear to me and those I barely know, but instantly there is a connection. There is an understanding of the battle I’m in without words being exchanged - there is such comfort and peace in that knowledge that comes from Him. They know how to pray for me on such an intimate level, they know how I struggle without even saying the words, they understand the beauty of what God has for me in this trial before I even fully understand it. Its humbling to know He is tenderizing my heart to walk with others in their journey someday. So thankful for His perfect plan, and the way He chooses to comfort us and calm those waters in our storms. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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