Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IOW: Comfort from Jesus

“And I don’t regret the rain,
And the nights I felt the pain,
And the tears I had to cry some
of those times along the way.
Every road I had to take,
Every time my heart would break -
It was just something that I had to get through
To get me to you…”

As sung by Lila McCann, “To Get Me To You”
[Hope Floats Soundtrack]

Who is this God?
"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." --Psalm 103:8
How can I know Him personally?
"If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." --John 14:7
I don't know how people survive this life without knowing God intimately. It would never be enough for me to be like the children of Israel -- always waiting for a prophet or judge or other leader to give them a word from God.

I'm greedy... I want to lay claim to all the promises of the Bible. And Jesus promised an abundant life -- He came to earth to give it to me (and to "whosoever believeth" --John 3:16).

And He promised to hear my prayers -- from my own lips -- because I trust Him.
"He answered their prayer, because they trusted in Him." --1 Chronicles 5:20b
I know that struggles and sorrows come with living on this decaying earth and in this aging body, but I can't help grabbing onto Jesus' very words of comfort.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." --John 16:33
So that you won't think me a 'glass half-full' woman because of an easy life (although I've been very blessed), let me share:

I suffered the death of my innocence at age 10 when my own grandfather misused me -- all the while assuring me that I was his favorite and he would never do anything to hurt me.

But God pulled me away from the typical self-blame of that circumstance by preparing me ahead of time to endure --

For even when my father (a non-believer at the time) requested my mother not attend church, she sent me on a bus from ages 6-8, to a church where I learned:
"Jesus loves me...

The Bible tells me so!!!"
Then, two years after the devastation of my misuse, at age 12, Jesus met me at the altar of Bethlehem Baptist Church when I prayed to accept Him as my Savior.

Every time Satan tried to use the horror and shame against me, when I took my eyes off my circumstances, and put them back on God:
"...the God of hope fill[ed me] with all joy and peace in believing, that [I] may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." --Romans 15:13
Did I struggle with self-esteem, at times hating myself? Of course. But I found God to be faithful to me even then. He showed me a true Grandfather's love--one not tarnished by the stain of sin.
"The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him." --Nahum 1:7
And then He turned my pain into joy when a mother, after hearing my testimony, came to me with fears her daughter was being misused by her stepfather. I had already developed a relationship with the girl through my ministry with young teen girls [Acteens]. I helped that mother and daughter open a dialogue together. I didn't get to know the end of the story, but I rejoice that I will get to hear the whole thing one day.

Although the summer I was 10 years old has colored my entire life, 20 years after it happened God showed me His purpose in allowing it to happen.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." --2 Corinthians 1:3-4
If helping that one teen girl is the only reason I had to suffer, it is completely worth it, because I was able to show that our God is faithful and true.

*******Are you walking a difficult path? God is longing to comfort you. He has a plan for you that includes building you up so that you may help others in their times of need.*******
"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation." --2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Michelle is hosting In Other Words at her blog Because I Love You.

13 comments:

Michelle Bentham said...

Patricia,

Beautifullly shared and please know God's light is shining through your testimony. It aches in us to be heard... the goodness of God, doesn't it?

God, I am sure, would say to you that He does not regret entrusting such suffering to you for you have allowed Him to use it well.

I'm sorry for what you have suffered, but grateful that God has used it to press you into Him and to help others who are hurting as you have hurt. Point them to Jesus, He is our way.

Love to you.

micey said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It will be a blessing to all those who read it.

Laurie Ann said...

This was so beautifully written. I loved the Scripture you used and am so glad you've found restoration in Christ!

Abigail Kraft said...

Thank you for your encouraging words Patricia! Your post is beautiful....it is true that God has a purpose for every trial--I praise God that He gives us such clear means of sharing His love and comfort with others.

In His arms,
--Abigail

MiPa said...

Bless you for sharing your story. When we are able to use the devastations of the past to minister for Jesus in the now, Satan loses. Thank you for using your story to minister.

Betsy Markman said...

It takes courage to share your story like that. Be assured that your testimony offers hope to all who hear it!

Karen said...

Wow that brought up a tear or two, thanks for sharing. Isn't it just grand that we can be down yet come out on top because of Jesus. That's what I think of my suffering moments to that perhaps if I could help just that one person, one woman, one child all I went through would not be in vain.

Michele Williams said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your testimony. Blessings to you dear.

Denise said...

Thank you for sharing such a lovely story, bless you.

:: jamie :: said...

I'm so sorry for all you have been through, but thank you for being open and for letting God use these circumstances to bless others.

Ava Semerau said...

Thanks for sharing your pain but more so your triumph through Christ. He's truly amazing, isn't He?
AVA

Esthermay said...

Can't explain just why . . . but after reading your story, this song is stuck in my head:

"Jesus paid it all, All to him I give. Sin had left a crimson stain - He washed it white as snow."

You can see those words in different scenarios -- the great sinner saved by grace -- or the innocent child stained by the pain/misuse/sin of a great sinner. Either way and in all cases: JESUS PAID IT ALL.

Healing, restoration, hope, strength - it all comes from one source: JESUS.

What a tender story. It is easy to identify the tenderness in a woman's heart sometimes -- even from several hundred miles away and in words on a screen alone. . . Your past has certainly shaped who you are and that Jesus is at the center now makes it all the more beautiful to see.

Something I don't think we will ever understand this side of heaven is WHY the beauty had to be birthed of such ugliness and abuse.

Thank you for sharing your story!
~esthermay

lambechops said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I can see that you have really laid your pain at the feet of Jesus, and I am humbled.