God always brings us through trials for a reason. Several months after my battle with despair, I stood on the bank of a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota watching the sun say a brilliant good-bye to the day. A few hundred people sat on benches in front of me. I glanced toward the second row and met the eyes of a church leader. He had been told his wife had an early form of cancer. My gaze wandered to another family, remembering what a miracle it was that they had even come. Their baby had died only six months before. An older gentleman sat on the front row. He was trying to get his life back together after selling his home.
I wanted to share something that would minister to each of their needs, but the needs were so great. How could I be of comfort to them? I glanced down at my open Bible and realized it had opened to Psalm 71. Ah, the same passage which had brought me comfort just months before. This was the perfect psalm to address the needs of the congregation. I could speak from experience about how God had worked in my life at my lowest moment.
After the service, many families told me what a blessing my message was to them. Others shared some of their struggles and asked for special prayer. Looking back, I can see that God brought me through my trial so I could help others through their own trials.
God always brings us through trials for a reason. Yes, they make our faith stronger. Yes, they draw us closer to Him. But the comfort we find in having God there with us is meant to be shared with others. We can encourage the family that is grieving over the loss of a loved one because God encouraged us in our loss. Our experience of God’s peace and presence when we went through surgery can strengthen someone else in the same position. God was right there beside us when our lives were hurting, so let’s share His comfort with others in their struggles.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder