Comfort: A Ministry of Reconciliation
by Lois E. Gibson
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." II Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV)
God comforts us through our trials in many ways. It can be through a person, a song, a sermon, a devotional, a scripture...anything he chooses. And when we have made it through our trial, we are to pass along this same comfort to another in distress.
Think about it. What better person is there to comfort you than one who has already been through what you are going through? If you had a choice, would you rather talk to someone who hasn't a clue where you are coming from OR would you rather speak to someone who went through the same or a similar experience?
Let me share my first real understanding of this verse. It was in 1986. My mother had fought a two year battle with cancer. She did not suffer as much as many have- she was never in excruciating pain and was able to get around and do some things for the most of the time she was afflicted. But there were so many ups and downs. First there was the operation where they found the cancer was bigger than expected and had attached itself to other areas. We were told that if she made it through the next two years with no recurrence, she should live another 20.
Our time of trial had only begun. Before the year was over, mom started having some of her previous symptoms. The cancer reared its ugly face in two more areas of her body. Then there were the better times followed by the episodes of going back to the hospital or doctor, trying a medicine that made things worse, and little by little different things started happening to her physically. I know she became frustrated. Then near the end there was slurred speech along with partial loss of control on her right side, which was a sign the cancer had now invaded her brain. She didn't live much longer.
I was in my late twenties; she was in her late fifties. My mom was not only a mother to me, but also a friend. It was not an enjoyable experience and I would not wish it on anyone. When she passed away, it was a few days before my birthday in February. We buried her on the day I turned 29.
Though it was hard, heart wrenching, and a very emotional time, God gave me strength and comforted me. There were times I didn't think I could keep going. I came to the realization then that unless a person has been through something, they really do not understand what you are going through. They can feel for you, they can be there for you, but they cannot fully relate and understand.
After my mom died, there came several opportunities to reach out to other people in similar circumstances. I was able to minister in a way I could never have had I not experienced my own loss. I could truly relate to their circumstance, even though it wasn't exactly as mine. And still, to this day, I am able to share the comfort that was given me over 14 years ago. Something good came out of a deep loss.
I know this is getting lengthy, but I wanted to make my point clear. Each of us who have been hurt in a church setting encountered different negative things, especially if we left. Each of us has been hurt to some extent. But also, each of us have been comforted through our loss, hurt, anger, and questions. And for those who are still hurting to some extent, do not let this hinder you.
You want to turn your loss into something good? Take that same comfort that has been given you and share it with someone in a similar situation. Don't worry, you won't lose your own comfort....it's amazing how the well never goes dry! You will find in doing so that not only will you be helping another soul in distress and thereby fulfilling these scriptures, but you will find that you yourself are comforted once more.
There are those who have left abusive churches and now have a distorted view of our Lord. Some want nothing to do with God or church because in their mind he is different from the God he truly is. Share your comfort with them as well, and reconcile them to our God.
Think about it. Sure sounds like a ministry to me!
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ..." II Corinthians 5:17-20 (KJV)
You may write Lois at the email address displayed in the image. No correspondence that seeks to debate will be answered as I have no desire to debate. Understand that due to the volume of mail, not every email may be acknowledged.
Posted June 5, 2000
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August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2012 by Lois E. Gibson
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