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God's Call to Be a Comforter

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Cor. 1:3, 4, NIV.

The voice on the other end of the phone was crackly and sniffly. “I called the Lupus Foundation to . . .” she said, then paused to weep. I let her cry, praying I could ease her fears. “Have you been diagnosed with lupus?” I inquired.

“Yes,” she replied.

Slowly she poured out her story (a familiar tale for me) of fatigue, pain, and weakness. She asked many questions: “How long do I have to live?” “Will I get worse?”

We talked almost an hour, laughing and crying over similar experiences—frequent visits to doctors with condescending attitudes, and strange, sometimes painful, laboratory tests. The conversation ended on a lighter note, and she thanked me for easing her concerns.

Eleven years ago I began experiencing painful body aches, extreme fatigue, and pain. After frequent doctor visits and extensive lab tests, I was diagnosed on Thanksgiving Eve, 1984, with lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks itself. Even today I remember the emotional devastation I felt—the depression, frustration, and uncertainty. I spent many tearful nights praying into the early hours for God to heal me. God’s healing spirit began to soothe my mounting fears. He was preparing me to be a “comforter,” to testify for Him.

My first assignment as a volunteer for the Lupus Foundation was as a hot line counselor. Each call from an inquirer reflected the emotions and pain I’d felt myself. Now I could lessen their fears, saying, “Yes, I’ve been through that, and here are some suggestions how you can cope . . .”

At times we experience trials that have no explanation - sometimes we can’t even hear God’s voice during them. But in all our difficulties He gives us strength to endure—thus strengthening our testimony.

When you experience difficulties and come through as victor, you will in time encounter someone else going through a similar trial. It is then you can confidently say, “Let me share with you what helped me deal with a similar problem.” And in comforting others, you will be comforted yourself.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.”

Challenge: Share your testimony and faith with someone who’s experiencing similar difficulties.

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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