I’m In This for You…
And I didn’t even realize it.
And many of you reading this have been there for me…did you realize that?
There were and are special people whose attitude going through challenges made a difference for me. It helps to know that survival is real, and smiling while enduring is possible.
I’ll tell you a secret – when someone has done that for you, they appreciate being told because they often do not realize it.
Recently I had a challenge of my own, and could see no purpose or good from it. Hours – days – weeks and then months went by where I felt useless. I knew the times I spent in prayer for others were not useless, but still I felt useless. It was emotion defining my reality. Does that make sense?
Maybe it does if you have been there. But how does one keep from showing those unrealistic emotions?
I mean how many times do you answer with the whole story when someone asks how you are doing?
It is especially awkward when an injury or illness lingers, and you don’t really want to whine or even seem like you are doing so, Whining never helps anyway and only reminds you that you are miserable. Yet you really want all the prayers you can get – you want this over with and any and all help is welcome…true – but I also wanted – needed – no matter the situation or my condition – to be accomplishing something even if no one else could see it.
It’s been that way since the concussion in January and the multiple side effects that followed. Three surprises changed my attitude.
One – I’m praying for you notes (with regular follow-up) gave me incentive to do whatever I needed to do to heal. Even (or for me especially) if it were to be still and to rest. Second, a new friend sent an email saying she had been watching me and thanked me for showing her what it looked like for a Christian to go through a trial. I still don’t know what I did to produce that, but it was a striking thought that my affliction could bring comfort to another. Then another friend surprised me today, saying perhaps my recent experiences were not necessarily to teach me something but to add compassion and empathy to my experiences FOR HER and others like her, who have had
Second, a new friend sent an email saying she had been watching me and thanked me for showing her what it looked like for a Christian to go through a trial. I still don’t know what produced that, but it was a striking thought that my affliction could bring comfort to another. Then another friend surprised me today, saying perhaps my recent experiences were not necessarily to teach me something now but to build up compassion and empathy from my experiences FOR HER and others like her, who have had long-term chronic illness.
Astonished, I realised it has taken these untimely and ongoing results of injury to increase empathy for those in similar or more serious situations. When weeks turned to months, I could not fathom what it would be like to spend years with a chronic issue. That thought alone sensitized noticing and caring for those in worse pain than myself. It does comfort me to know I can now hear others with more understanding and pray with more passion for those in on-going difficulties.
Now I know things I could not have known without those trials – I know how much a phone call, a card, or a note means to one who feels useless or invisible. You can be sure I was, and still am, taking notes to pass on to others the comfort that was given to me.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (ESV) 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 1:4 (MSG) He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
It is so healing to hear someone say you blessed them and you know you could never have felt those words or prayers unless you had been down that particular path. Their receiving comfort values what I initially thought was a useless trial.
So many of you have been in it for me and shared your comfort with me. You showed me I can be grateful for the strange things that happen to me, for it can bring comfort to others. It is worth it to know a time of refining isn’t just about filing my rough edges – but for your comfort and for eternity’s sake…
Now, I’m in it for you.