Today’s guest blogger is Suzanne Holland. Suzanne is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, wife to John, and mom to two grown up boys. She is also a student at Reigning Grace Counseling Center and hopes to become a Certified Biblical Counselor, offering the hope of the Scriptures to those who are hurting.

“Oh, Lord, I know that you are all I need, and that you are
enough…But won’t you please send a person?”
That was my prayer this morning, as I woke up to another day
of pain. Most days, I am steadfastly determined to trust the Lord in my
suffering. Through time in the Word, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit,
most days I have victory over the fear and sadness that come with the pain of a
degenerative condition.  But, on other
days, when I have become weary of the pain, I give in to fear and I succumb to
feelings of sadness. On those days, I feel lonely. Though I know that Christ is
sufficient, I long for a pair of eyes, a human voice, and real arms of
compassion to show and to tell me that I’m not alone.
Often, on these difficult days, my loving Father does send
someone along to encourage and strengthen me, and I am always so grateful and
full of praise on those days. But some days, He does not send that person. The
day stretches on, and no one calls. I reach out to others who are further along
the road of faith and could offer me some encouragement, but no one answers.  I am left alone in my pain, sadness and fear,
and I have a choice to make in that struggle. I can choose to dwell on my sad
situation and sometimes, because I am weak and human, I do. When that happens,
the day gets worse, pain increases, and my family suffers. Or I can choose to
glorify God in it and prove Him right in his assertion that His grace is
sufficient for me. But, make no mistake, this
is a choice. There is no temptation, including self-pity, from which God
has not provided a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). Our task is to choose to take
it or not.
One thing is guaranteed to draw me out of my funk, and it is
generally the thing that I least want to do when I am feeling down: Go find someone
who is feeling worse than I am, and encourage them. (I must throw in a caution
here that this is not a call to commiserate, but to come alongside.) There is
no better way to encourage your own heart than to go out and find a brother or
sister who also needs a reminder of God’s love and faithfulness. In order to speak
about God’s faithfulness to someone else, you will have to draw on the truth
that you know—and you must really know
it. When you speak truth into another believer’s aching heart, you must be
confident in that truth. You must really mean it, and be prepared to convince
your friend. There can be no half-hearted assertion that God’s grace is
sufficient when it comes to encouraging someone else. To be convincing, you
must have evidence from your own life that it is true. You know how hard it is
to speak truth to yourself, and to believe that truth when life is crushing
you. So, before you go to encourage this person, you have to read, pray, and
recall to your mind the many times that God has been faithful to you, even when
you were faithless. By the time you have done all this, you will be unable to
believe your own self-pity self-talk. You will see the holes in your own
spiritual armor, and you will see how the enemy’s native tongue has been at
work in your thoughts. If you do these things, your heart will overflow with
gratitude that you can pour right onto your friend’s struggle. The two of you,
by the power of the Spirit of God, will face the battle together.
God sends needy people into our lives all the time. We ought
to be looking out for those needs and opportunities to encourage one another
(Hebrews 10:24-25). Tune up your compassion radar, and you will begin to find
many occasions to strengthen and encourage other believers in their faith.
This morning, I made the choice to take my own advice and go
looking for someone who needed encouragement. I did my usual morning Bible
study, and asked the Lord to lead me to someone in need.  As I got ready for the day, my phone rang. It
was a friend who also deals with chronic pain, and often suffers from anxiety
and fear about it. She was feeling lonely, and having trouble getting her mind
off the pain. This particular friend is unable to drive, and so she spends much
of her time alone. She is also a woman of great faith who has been through many
trials, and has often helped me with mine. She is one of those “further along”
sisters who often has reached back to me as I’ve struggled along the road of
sanctification. Today, though, it was my turn to encourage her. I took my
aching self and went to her home where we prayed, studied scripture, and put to
death our self-pity and fear.
This
brings me back around to those two eyes, that human voice, and those arms of
compassion I was so longing for earlier. But now, this is not a self-focused
longing of my own. This is the answer to my prayer. This is the Lord working in
the life of another believer through my pain. These are my eyes, my voice, and
my arms of compassion, reaching out to a hurting child of God. Only our perfect
Father could orchestrate such an outcome! This is God’s strength made perfect
in weakness. My cry to Him for help has been answered. Perhaps my friend prayed
this same prayer this morning, even as I was pleading with our Father. God knew
our need, and responded in love and mercy by bringing us together. The Lord
truly does draw near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), but He also draws the
brokenhearted near to one other. As my friend and I began to share, pray, and
read together, we remembered the command of Scripture to comfort one another
with the comfort we each have received (2 Corinthians 1:4). What a blessing to
watch the Word of God demonstrated in our lives!

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