Tuesday, August 31, 2010

comfort in all our troubles

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 Corinthians 1:3-4)

$166.25... "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort..."

$166.25... that is how much money it costs to euthanize and cremate your dog in Northern Illinois... "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of COMPASSION and the God of all COMFORT."

Yesterday, Chuck and I had to make the hard decision to put down our beloved dog, Vader. For years, Vader, and his brother Oscar, have both been struggling with an aggressive cancer, and yesterday Vader's time was finally up. The cancer, the corruption in His body, had finally won. Vader's physical frame had deteriorated to the point of imminent death. So, with a heavy heart we gave our vet the go-ahead to spare him further discomfort. Yesterday, Chuck and I held our beloved Vader in our arms while a two-shot process was administered into our dog's body. The first shot put him to sleep. The second shot stopped his heart and ultimately ended his life.

Death quiets everything, doesn't it? It changes our realm so that we are able to dissect every detail from it's visit. It causes us to later evaluate and examine our own imminent future and notice the importance of our own existence. In this world, death is a certainty that shadows every creature. Yes, death is our rightful finale... the deserved end of what we physically know from this time and place.

Soon, Chuck and I were home where Vader's brother, Oscar, awaited our return. At first, Oscar had no idea that Vader wasn't with us. He danced about as normal - thrilled that Mommy and Daddy had come home. But as the evening progressed, His breathing became heavy. His mannerisms exhibited sadness. Oscar knew. Vader was gone. His brother's life on earth was over. Suddenly this humble creature felt the same sting of sadness - the same burden that Chuck and I were carrying. Of course, I spent the remainder of the night comforting Oscar - assuring him that all would be O.K.... that Mamma and Pappa would be here, loving him very, very much.

However, at one point while snuggled and stroking his head in the wee hours of the morning, I realized that one day soon Oscar's aggressive cancer cells will also bring us to this sad, lonely place. In the near future, both Chuck and I will return home brokenhearted and $166.25 the lesser.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of COMPASSION and the God of all COMFORT." Compassion and comfort. Compassion denoting God's mercy and concern for the plight of those who suffer. Comfort confirming what God lovingly extends to every sufferer... to every person tormented by the result of sin. This is our God, the Father of Jesus Christ - Lord and Savior - God in human form. Yes, He is our Comfort... the One who compassionately, wholeheartedly loves us and offers to pay the price for our aggressive cancer of sin. The One who substitutes Himself so that we may be freed of every broken heart, every disappointment, every cost incurred as the result of our own corruption.

This is the Holy King who insures us a place in His eternal realm of peace and goodness. This is the Perfect who saves the imperfect... the tainted... the lost. Our Almighty Father who secures us everlasting LIFE via His Only Son's willing and obedient sacrifice.

But why?

Jesus sacrificed Himself so that our exposure to death would only be a temporary trouble. So that our Father could snuggle close to us rather than lose us in our own peril. So that we may enjoy true freedom and hope while intimately knowing His ever-present Light... forever! Jesus died and rose again for us because He loves us... and because He has the only power to save us from our sin.

Truly such a God is worthy of our praise, isn't He? Yes, I believe that Paul was right when he wrote about this loving God of compassion and comfort. Read the rest of Paul's text. Text written when Paul had been under great pressures with problems beyond his ability to endure on His own. Problems so greatly discouraging that Paul had despaired that he may not be able to survive physically.

Still, Paul knew Jesus. Still, Paul acknowledged God's headship and control. Still, Paul relied on His Savior. Still, Paul encouraged endurance while all evidence on earth pointed to utter hopelessness.

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 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Have you chosen to receive God's wonderful compassion and grace? In the midst of every storm you face, can you praised God for His Comfort?

Ladies, through the worst moments of our earthly life, we must realize that God's power to raise the dead has significance beyond Christ's resurrection and the general bodily resurrection of the last days of this earth. Hear me when I tell you this truth: God is able to make the power of Christ's resurrection evident in our lives TODAY! His transformation is taking place right now! In our worst sorrow, we are called to respond confidently and with praise. Why? Because Jesus will indeed save and restore His own. One day, Jesus will wipe away every tear and every heartbreak. So today, and every day... He is our hope!

"He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 25:8)

I am certain that when Paul's $166.25 moment arrived, he moved into Heaven's realm and was crowned by the one true God who's riches endlessly abound... who's blessings cannot be counted. I am content knowing (as Paul knew) that my death has also been covered by Christ's blood. My sin has been paid for in full by His death. My life is promised and I will continue on with my living Jesus... surpassing and overcoming every sadness of this world because of His glorious Name.

In this knowledge, on the eve of a new morning that follows my beloved dog's death... with tears in my eyes, I WILL REJOICE! For my God is indeed in full control. My God is faithful.

Today, I will LIVE seeking His newness and choosing to embrace every moment with the security and promise of His eternal Word... my only Comfort. I will live evaluating my obedience to His kingdom... examining my motives to match His ways ... enduring every trial for the glory of my sacrificial Savior.

Yes, this is the day to rejoice and be glad. (See Psalm 118:24.) Yes, today is the day to praise God, ladies. May we each come to know His compassion and comfort intimately. May we share His love openly as we expose our trial - presenting our broken hearts to Him and receiving His promise of hope to restore and renew us. Today is the day to find refuge in the shelter of the Most High. Blessed be His holy, holy, holy Name!

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Psalm 91:1-2)

Blessings!
Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

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