Thursday, November 20, 2008

SALT Challenge - Comfort in Suffering

This week on the SALT blog it was my turn to set the challenge. I actually came up with my topic when getting ready for the Hope challenge from a few weeks ago. When I was looking for scripture for Hope I came across a heading in my Bible that made me read further, “Comfort in Suffering.” Suffering? Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? No one likes to suffer and yet everyone has suffered to some degree in their lives, affected by sickness, death, divorce, disappointment…the list goes on. What good thing can be gained by suffering?
Salvation....Christ willingly offered Himself up to the most horrific suffering ever experienced; the brutal torture and ultimate death on the cross to pay for the sins of His people. What He experienced was the epitome of suffering. Had it not been for Christ’s willingness to suffer in our place, we would be forever bound to sin and misery and face an eternal end far worse than any suffering here on earth.
The comfort of others...God can use our sufferings to be a blessing and comfort to someone else. Can someone who has never lost a loved one truly understand the grief associated with such a loss? Not entirely. But someone who has had the same experience can be of great comfort to a grieving individual since they can identify with such despair.
Our final deliverance...Scripture tells us that we may be "burdened beyond measure, above strength, and despaired even of life." Our hope and comfort can not be found here on this earth but is found in the One who is able to deliver us from physical, and more importantly, spiritual death. As Paul states in II Corinthians 2, "Our hope for you (the church) is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation."
Suffering in this life is unavoidable but through Christ we have great reason to rejoice, in good times and bad. We can rest in knowing that God has a sovereign purpose both in our troubles and in the comfort that He gives us in them.
We invite you to join with us in celebrating the comfort found in Christ by creating a card, scrapbook page, or other project based on this week's theme. Leave us a comment on the SALT blog with a link back to your blog or gallery...we'd love to see your creation!! On my layout...Oh my goodness...I digiscrapped!!! It's a painfully simple and not very fancy layout but it was a blast to create! I would say that I'm hooked on digital scrapbooking...Can't wait to do more of it!!
This photo is of my mom not long after my parents divorced and she had to go back to work full time. She was diagnosed with cancer about six years later and passed away at 37, I was 15 and out on my own, supporting myself, at 17. To say that her death was and is a huge loss is an understatement and over the years I've had people express their sympathies by saying how hard my life must have been. I've never looked at it that way, there are so many people who have much harder lives than mine. Looking back I can clearly see God's hand in my life, directing my path and granting me protection and friends who have been like family. If God is truly God, then He must be in control of all of the details of our lives, even when we suffer and now, as a Christian, I can confidently rest in the comfort He provides and in the hope that one day I'll be with my mom for eternity.
Thanks for hanging in for my novel today... :-) I don't often share personal details but wanted to express how God has been the ultimate comfort to me in times of loss. I pray that it might be a comfort to someone out there...
Have a blessed weekend!


Hazel said...

Thank you for sharing, not just your lovely LO, but your deep thoughts. Thank you for a very moving challenge.

esther said...

Kim! Wow where to start, such a moving an though provoking topic and challenge, thank you for sharing a glimpse of your faith and personal life through your work, it is a beautiful photo

Julie Masse said...

Great post Kim! I know there are plenty of people out there suffering tremendously - maybe God used you today to speak to them! It was neat to see a photo of your mom!

Thanh said...

I never realized that you were on your own so early, Kim. Hugs to you.