Monday, August 29, 2016

Devotion: A Purpose for Suffering #1

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ¶ 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.

As a child, I got called names like, Buckie Beaver and Bugs Bunny. You can probably guess why. Kids are cruel and will point out the faults of others. Mine was buck teeth. In my diary when I was about 13 years old, I wrote a prayer asking God to make it possible so I could get braces on my teeth. I even wrote that if it required surgery to fix my overbite I would be willing to go through it. Being the object of ridicule is a painful place to be as a teenager who wants to fit in with others.

God answered that prayer five years later. The orthodontists and oral surgeon determined the only way to really fix the overbite was major surgery to remove 7 mm of bone from the upper jaw, and break and move the lower jaw forward. They accomplished the first but not the latter because I swelled too much during the first part for them to adequately see what they were doing for the second part. I was happy with the results of the first part and wasn't interested in more surgery, hospital time and having my mouth wired shut for another ten weeks, so I opted out of having the lower jaw done.

I never dreamed that five years after that I would be working as a dental x-ray tech for the surgeon and orthodontists that did my mouth as well as seven other dentists. Patients who were scheduled for the same type of surgery I had would come in for x-rays and God used me to empathize and encourage them by my own experience.

Now, many years later, I deal with other health issues. But God has helped me to be able to comfort others who also suffer because I am in that place and understand what they deal with. I am able to comfort them with the same comfort God has given me. 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 tells us that He comforts us in our trouble so that we can in turn comfort others with the same comfort He has given us.

We may wonder why we must suffer. It is just part of the fallen human experience, but one of God's purposes in allowing His people to suffer is so that we can be comforters of others in their pain. When we do this, it will prevent us from falling into depression because we will be looking outward toward others instead of inward toward ourselves. God has designed it so it benefits both ourselves and those who we comfort. All praise be to our all-wise God.

1 comment:

LadyVictorian said...

I believe that pain is the greatest schoolmaster. Whether it is physical, emotional, social, intellectual or mental they are all gifts from God to us to help us develop into more Christ-like souls.