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photo: weekly snaps graphic: Martha G. Brady

photo: weekly snaps
graphic: Martha G. Brady

Do you ever set out to comfort someone and walk away from the conversation realizing that you probably didn’t…and may have done just the opposite?

I had a conversation like that last week. It’s not the first this has happened, but it has eaten at me all week. The good part about it has been that it has prompted prayer…always good.

It has also prompted learning. What other approach would be more helpful? I learn a lot. It not only helps me personally, but often helps in the future.

In the end, she fell into the arms of a long time friend and mentor. That was when I realized that probably nothing I said would have helped or comforted her. She needed to talk to that woman, not me.

When we’re in pain, relationship matters!

I just have to get used to it. After 20+ years in one place, I got used to being sought out, even by people who were no longer in our church. I can’t expect to be in that same place after only 2 years here. Especially when I’m still out of sync here in many ways. I still haven’t quite found my niche. Relationship and history matters when a person is in pain.

They want to talk with a person they know and love. A person they have history with. There is no getting around that. It takes time to develop history with people. It takes time for them to grow to love you…and you them. It’s like gardening. It takes time for those seeds to grow.

So as part of the learning I have been doing this week, not all directly related to this incident, I’ll share some of what I’ve been learning in reading, studying, thinking.

Moving from denial to stark reality in new areas of life

This link came up today. It is a great jumping off point for our discussion. It is from Kara Tippetts, a blogging acquaintance who is in the latter stages of dying of cancer. Her posts have been very encouraging, but also sad. Not the hopeless kind of sad, but sad for the family at the loss they are in the process of experiencing. Hopeful for the time when she will soon be in the arms of Jesus! For that matter, so will her family, but in a different way!

Her post about moving from denial in certain areas of her dying, to reality in all its starkness reminds me of so much of our lives.

Whether we are in denial about the true nature of our hearts or the true condition of the broken world around us, or even the actual reality of our marriage, family, health or work life…GOD promises that we are precious to Him! Not only that, but we are special to Him in that He knows us by name and when we are passing through difficult waters or fire, He will be with us!

Don’t be afraid, I am with you! You are precious to me…whether you feel like it or not!

Does the idea that He is with you, no matter what the circumstance, comfort you? You aren’t alone! No matter how dark or alone you feel, the fact is, He is with you and He loves you…truly!

 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

 Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
 Fear not, for I am with you;

Isaiah 43:1-5

This passage has also come to mind this week as I have thought about the times I have experienced pain, loss, darkness, brokenness…to name a few! To know that to GOD, I am precious, just like His people of old, now I, His child who is in Christ, am also precious to Him.

How many times do I feel unloveable? Yet He loves me!

There is nothing logical about love. It really doesn’t have to do with much objective truth about the one loved. Ultimately, we love them because we love them! Generally, it isn’t just the way they look. That may have gotten our attention at first, but it is the whole package!

It is their character, their sense of humor, the way they do things. At times their looks may even be incidental to the rest of the package. Certainly, they can’t be repulsive to us, but their looks may not be our number one favorite feature about them…which is a good thing, since looks don’t last! Character and sense of humor do!

GOD loves us because He loves us. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us more or less than He loves us now. There is nothing we can do to make our salvation more effective than it is right now. GOD loves us and has chosen us to be His.

But there is also something special about us now that we are “in Christ.” We are now clothed in His righteousness, purchased with His blood, not our righteousness, which is never adequate…or even close to adequate!

Getting a hold of this is so liberating…not in the sense that I can go wild and do what I want, but in the sense that I am now free to do what is best for me and others, as I learn to love GOD with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself.

This is what is best for me and will make me live a fulfilled life. This is how GOD made me to function optimally.

Are you learning to believe in your gut that GOD loves you and finds you to be precious to Him?

Do you truly believe that GOD is with you, even when you feel alone, even in the dark?

Are you beginning to understand that GOD is able to care for you and yours in ways that are best for all of you?