Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Tea - The Story You Will Tell in Eternity

"... Who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 
2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV

I've heard of so many people going through difficult times recently that I decided to repeat a former Sunday Afternoon Tea post.  For those who suffer, which is all of us.... First posted in June, 2015.

Last weekend I was working in the kitchen, the usual making and baking and washing up, when my husband would peek his head around the corner to update me on the progress of the U. S. Open golf tournament.

Now you must understand, golf is probably my least favorite sport to watch on television.  Not to mention in person.  But this year's U. S. Open had a story I was following, to be more precise... a golfer I was following.

For one of the stories of the weekend was a golfer who suffers from vertigo off and on and had an attack during the tournament.  What I found quite amazing was his determination to continue through until the end of the tournament. He actually stayed among the leaders for a long time, eventually finishing "even" which meant he did not win... but he finished!

Why my interest?  Well, you may remember when I was hit out of the blue (in the middle of the night!) with a severe case of vertigo.  It was the worse thing I ever experienced.  It was scary.  It brought constant nausea.  My neighbor still believes (I presume) I was tipsy that summer because I fell over in the garden more than once!

I had experienced minor bouts of vertigo, as had my mother throughout the years.  But nothing like the life shattering symptoms severe vertigo brings about. The vertigo lasted most of the summer and then life returned somewhat to normal.

Although it never went completely away.  A week or two ago I didn't think and rolled my head back to turn out the sofa lamp behind me.  Oh, my.  Wrong decision! Just the turn of the head the wrong way caused the room to start swimming.  Like the golfer at the U.S. Open, I keep medication on hand to take when those first symptoms appear.  (My vertigo is believed to be a result of liquid building in the inner ear as a result of sinus infections.)

You see, I became interested in that golfer because I knew what he was experiencing.  I could be amazed that he would continue the tournament because I knew what it was like to walk with severe vertigo, much less swing a golf club!  He had my sympathy but also my empathy.  I had experienced the same symptoms he was, even if they were not on a golf course.

When I was suffering with vertigo, I found empathy in the life story of Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken.  Laura has suffered from extreme vertigo for decades and while it makes it difficult for her to leave her house, she has written two bestselling books!  Her story encourages many people who go through adversity.

As you also may remember, I think that term about making your mess your message is a bit overused these days.  But for good reason.  It has a lot of Truth to it.  Godly principles to live by.  God's Truth in a cute soundbite.

For I am convinced God allows the trials we face in life for a reason.  A specific reason.  An individual reason.  They bring with them the road map of our destiny.  His answer to the big questions like, "What am I here for?" and "What is my life purpose?".

I would say, should you ask yourself those questions... "What have you suffered?".

God never wastes a trial.  Never.  Ever.  It is true that we live in a fallen world and that we as Christians experience the results of the Fall.  It is true that bad things happen to good people.  If we live long enough, we experience the bad stuff life has to offer.

However... and that is one big "HOWEVER", God truly does have a plan for our life.  In his, oh... Godly way... He allows certain trials in each life.  He knows it all, the beginning from the end, you know.  When you are in the midst of a crisis, you don't think anything good can ever come from it.  Especially when said crisis stays with you every single day of your life.

But He knows.  He is not only watching from afar but He is right there in you and by you and around you each step of the journey by way of the Holy Spirit and His angels.  It's just that... on this side of Eternity we really don't get it at all most of the time.  Romans 8:28 seems like a joke, I mean really God... you are going to turn this into something good?

Uh, huh.  He sure is and not only is He and will He but someday in Eternity we will get a clear view.  He is going to use those trials you have experienced throughout life.  That is your message!  That is why Lewis can call suffering "God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world".

Tell your Story.  

For in that story, in those stories, somewhere in the midst of all those tears and all that pain... you have a message that someone else needs to hear.  If nothing else they need to hear that you understand.  You get it.  You've been there.  God is in control even when your life is upside down (uh... literally!).

I love what Corrie Ten Boom shares about the tapestry of our life, how on this side of Eternity we see the ugly knots of the thread and the blackness of the background and how it appears a jumbled up mess.  But the other side?  From Heaven's perspective?  He has woven a beautiful tapestry.

Throughout Eternity I believe each one of us will have a story of how God redeemed the messes... and wove the tears in with the laughter and with the pain and with the joy... and how He embroidered it with glitter and sparkle and redeemed it with His Blood and look at us!  His Bride!

How does the old hymn go, "I love to tell the Story, it will be my theme in Glory!"?  Amen and Amen!

Image:  An April Storm by Robert Duncan


Anonymous said...

At the age of 57 I'm in constant pain from a lower back injury. I need two crutches and lots of pain killers to get around. This pain started in December 2014.
I admit I've done more than my share of moaning about my situation. The limitations on my lifestyle have frustrated and angered me. And sadly, I let everyone around me know about it!
But, in the last week I've come to a place of acceptance and peace about this situation. I am full of joy and trusting in my Saviour.
I have been told by a medical specialist that I will not get better. But, that's okay. I believe God will use my pain for good. My spiritual life is getting stronger and I am witnessing more.
Sometimes I think of Cousin Helen in 'What Katy Did'. :)
I hope my comment helps someone.

The Journey said...

It was wonderful I am glad you reposted it.

Sherry said...

oh thank you brenda..
i needed to read this as it will
bolster my resolve and willingness
to continue the race set before me,
for wherever i am *is holy ground*.

Vee said...

What an excellent post to revisit. (Course all of yours are!) 🎵It will be worth it all when we see Jesus...🎵

Carrie said...

Thank you. Needed this. Been so sick with this pregnancy I'm no longer able to care for my family on a daily basis. It's been a struggle to trust that God sees and cares.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I agree Brenda. It is not easy, in fact we know we are promised that we will face adversity in this life, but trusting that God will work good through it...makes it bearable.

I try daily to fix my mind on Him, so that no matter the events happening around me or in this world, I can know peace.

Anonymous said...

Life seems to hold so many deep valleys for some of us...we too are going through some physically ourselves as well as watching the marriage of one of our kids going towards divorce...soon I think. Homeschooling does not protect our kids as well as it ought to...and I am not so sure we did things any differently than you did. In that area, you are very blessed. But thanks for the reminder that trials are never wasted. Tis so hard to see from our vantage point in this sad world.
Elizabeth in WA

A Woman that Fears the Lord said...

This is such an encouraging post, Brenda! I am learning so much more about my God as I go through days of pain. I've never heard that saying about letting your pain be your message...but I believe...just as you wrote...that we can bring glory to Him in the midst of our pain.

Heather LeFebvre said...

Oh my I am sorry about the vertigo!!! UGH! I am scared of having that but I suppose the Lord will provide grace if he allows it one day. I can't imagine finishing out a golf game!!!