Charlotte Life Group

Sharing life in Christian fellowship

How Do We Comfort?


Posted 6 years, 4 months ago at 10:58 am. Add a comment

Did God really create us with perfection in mind? I believe He did, but He also gave us the freedom to choose between good and evil. And that’s where it gets complicated. Yet, with every choice we make and every new experience, we can learn a little bit more about God’s intentions for our lives. Can you imagine the person you would be if you had no sin in your life? Or how about another person you know – anyone at all? Use your imagination and do the math:

P = Person
(P – Anger) + (P + Kindness) + (P – Selfishness) + (P + Generosity) +
(P – Envy) + (P + Gratitude) + (P – Hate) + (P + Love) +
(P – Laziness) + (P + Enthusiasm) + (P – Anxiety) + (P + Patience) +
(P – Excess Indulgence) + (P + Temperance) +
(P – Lust) + (P + Self Control) + (P – Greed) + (P + Generosity) +
(P – Vengeance) + (P + Forgiveness) + (P – Pride) + (P + Humility)
= Awesome Person!!!

The interesting thing is that, as Christians, we are constantly doing various versions of this math every day on ourselves and on others. We have to, because the Math of God avoids the Wrath of God! (I just made that up.) The truth is that no matter how we try to calculate it, we will never fulfill this perfect equation without the grace of God. We can only get a glimpse of what God intended for us when we attempt this exercise.

But how do we comfort others when a loved one’s choices have gotten so out of control that a life has ended before the loved one has fully understood and taken advantage of God’s grace? Or when we’re not quite sure about the person’s Christian walk? After all, each person’s relationship with God is between that person and God. Who are we to judge? Sometimes people get so caught up in struggles that they can’t find their way out. How do we comfort those who are left behind to pick up the pieces? I think we can try to show them what God has intended.

I have been around lots of people with substance abuse problems, some very close to me. It has affected me so much that for the past 6 years I have been a regular volunteer at Dove’s Nest in Charlotte, a wonderful, Christian-based rehabilitation center for women. I play a small part by providing leisure skills lessons on a monthly basis, but it has given me a chance to see the progress that God has made in the lives of each of the women who go through the program. It’s truly a blessing and a comfort to me as I see these women coming into fuller knowledge of the Lord’s grace and then making better choices as a result of that knowledge.

But we don’t always get to catch that refining process in such a positive full swing. Last week, my brother-in-law’s brother passed away after a long struggle with alcoholism. His liver and spleen gave out on him, abruptly ending his life at the young age of 51.  The same week I had gotten a call from someone very close to me who has struggled with substance abuse most of his life. He told me he had just gone through the worst week of his life. He went through severe withdrawals from some extremely heavy medications he had been taking for years. Realizing the similarities of both of these individuals, and how they each struggled with their own roller coaster ride of vulnerability and resolve, prompted me to write this poem for my brother-in-law, who had watched his own loved one struggle for years.

 

“I’m sorry for your loss” seems like the only thing to say
When things don’t end up being what we wish and hope and pray.
I know you loved your brother and you wished for him the best.
But there’s just so much that we can do; and then there is the rest.
 
You may have lost a part of him while he was still alive,
But you always wished the best for him and hoped that he’d survive
The demons that he struggled every day to overcome.
Still you never understood why he would rather just be numb.
 
The day I got the call from Terri telling me he’d passed
I’d received another call that day with news of slight contrast.
My friend told me he’d just been through the worst week of his life.
The pain he’d suffered through that week cut through him like a knife.

A revelation came to him as he began that week.
He had demons of his own that he’d decided to defeat.
The battle’s tough and there’s no guarantee that it will stick,
But he knew he had some habits that he had to try to kick.

We’ll never know how many times your brother may have had
The very same epiphany when he was feeling bad.
But didn’t quite get through the battle so he was denied
The chance to make that call to say he’d reached the other side.

We all have had our battles, some we’ve lost and some we’ve won
And let’s face it, there will be some things that we’ll have left undone.
So may we set aside his struggles now that they have ended;
And remember all the best of him, for that’s what God intended.

In my efforts to comfort, I can only hope that my reference to what God intends might be pondered upon. I know it wasn’t a personal invitation to accept Christ . . . but with a loving spirit I truly wanted to comfort his loved ones and allow them to remember all of the things they loved about him. That’s what God does for us every time we turn to Him and give our struggles over to Him.

I am personally mesmerized by how God took the time and effort to create us each so uniquely and so beautifully in His eyes, even though our impressions of ourselves and others sometimes get clogged up by the distraction of sin. Thank you, Lord, for creating us beautifully in your eyes and for revealing your intentions for us every day so that we might see ourselves and each other through your eyes.

Matthew 10:30 

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

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