The God of comfort

Sorry for the delay between post. The truth is that I have been having my own health problems which, I am happy to say are getting better. But it set me thinking about our attitude to trials, which, in turn, set me thinking about Heather……..

When Heather became pregnant she was delighted. They had waited a long time in their marriage for this little baby. Heather was a sister in the operating theatre and we were all delighted for her and shared her excitement as the baby grew. Four weeks before her due date she went on maternity leave.

“See you in the labour ward.”

“Looking forward to seeing the new mom.”

The good wishes and the comments were all around as we said goodbye on her last day in theatre.

Two weeks later the news came. Heather was upstairs in the maternity ward. She had gone for a routine check-up and the doctor could hear no heartbeat for the baby. An ultrasound confirmed it. Her beautifully formed little girl had inexplicably died in utero. Now she had been admitted to have labour induced to deliver her dead baby. I gave her an epidural to make the procedure as painless as possible and her baby was delivered.

Afterwards Heather was inconsolable. No amount of sympathy, talking or praying with her eased her pain. It seemed so difficult to reach her. “Each heart knows its own bitterness. “ says the Book of Proverbs and it proved so for Heather. She knew that though we were sympathetic, we could not understand how she felt.

Then one day a lady she did not know came to visit her. She sat beside her bed and told her story.

“I know what you are going through,” she said and Heather once more doubted that she did.

She continued, “My baby died the day she was born. It was so unexpected. We had no idea there was anything wrong with her.” As she poured out her heart Heather felt a glow of recognition. She was describing what she felt. From that encounter the healing started. The two became inseparable and Heather started participating in life again.

The experiences of pain that we undergo can be a gift from God to bring healing to others. As we allow ourselves to be healed we are equipped to heal, like no other person, those who are facing similar trials. In fact, even knowing that our suffering can be transmuted into something meaningful can bring healing. I certainly have found that it has been a help to me to think “Well, God is preparing me to better understand someone who is going through the same.”

“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)

How great God is to allow us to participate in His acts of healing, even if it means that we have to go through trials ourselves.

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