“Just as the sufferings of Christ overflow in your lives, so do the comforts.” (I Cor. 1:5) I am experiencing the truth of this verse in new ways these days. And though this year has brought suffering, it has also brought His comforts.
His Word. A Bible verse that has brought me comfort me over and over again in this journey is I Tim.4:17: “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” Knowing that He could stand even when I couldn’t comforted me. Knowing that He stood beside my bed brought comfort when I felt alone, as one often does in pain or suffering. He has stood by me through each stage of this journey. What a comfort! (Thankful for friends who gave me this early on in my journey. It continues to hang in our living room as a daily reminder)
Aslan. Another source of comfort to me has come in the form of a small stuffed lion. It was a gift from my grandson, Jaden. We named him Aslan after the good, though not tame, lion in C.S Lewis’s Narnia books. Aslan went with me everywhere. During one of my transfers, the ambulance driver asked, “Does he go too?” “He goes wherever I go,” I answered. As in Narnia, the presence of Aslan makes everything alright. I could imagine Jesus with me, just as Aslan was, everywhere I went. And every time they moved me, I knew that God was with me, fighting for me, standing with me. Aslan is still never far from me. He reminds me that I am loved and “I am His”, and He has been beside me through it all, giving me strength. What a comfort!
Music. Especially in the early days of recovery, when reading was difficult, music was a real comfort. Here is one song, among many, that brought and continues to bring comfort. Chris Tomlin – The Roar
Gifts. I am always blessed and amazed at how perfectly timed His comforts are. One example (among many) occurred just this past week, shortly after my fall. I was returning from a doctor visit and feeling particularly tired and discouraged only to be greeted by a beautiful bouquet of flowers from cousins that live on the other side of the world. What a comfort!
Beauty/Memories of His goodness. Near my chair, where I spend most of my time, I have pictures of the lavender fields from the South of France. They remind me not only of the amazing beauty of God’s creation but of a wonderful long weekend spent in France with my daughter just a few months before my stroke. What a comfort to be reminded of His goodness to me!
I have heard that in the wilderness of the Sinai peninsula (where the Israelites spent so much time) that there are few,if any, signs of life, except for the broom trees that dot the landscape. These trees provide the only shade from the sun and the only cover when night falls. Their wood also provides for fires when the cool of night comes. Broom trees! That’s what God gives us in the midst of the most barren places of our lives. Broom trees like a special verse, ambulance drivers, stuffed lions, grandchildren, family, friends who show up when I need them most, etc. Each brings comfort in His name and encouragement along the desert journey.
I have seen His comforts again and again and have learned not to despise even the smallest of comforts in the midst of trials. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”Psalm 23:4 His rod and staff will and do bring comfort. I pray that we all have eyes to see His many comforts even in the midst of suffering.