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comfortingIn an email conversation with my dad this morning, he reminded me of a time that was tough in my mom’s life (physically at least).  She had all three of us by C-section and shortly after my little brother was born she had to have her gall bladder removed!  This was back when they didn’t do the tiny little belly button incisions.  She was hurting.  My grandmother, her mother-in-law, told her during that time, “When you’re hurting, somebody needs you.”  This took my mom aback.  Someone needs me?  I’m hurting here!  I’m the one who just had two surgeries almost back to back.  Nonetheless, during my mom’s hospital stay she encountered another patient, a lady who was hurting in her heart, not just her body.  God used Mom to encourage and bless that lady.  It may not have happened if Mom’s heart hadn’t been opened to the possibility by grandma’s wise words.

Wow – this is good truth!  One of the enemy’s biggest tactics to mess me up is self-pity and self-absorption.  There’s no better way to counter that attack, no better way to get your mind off of yourself and your hurts than to look for someone who needs you, someone you can bless or encourage or serve.

It seems that getting absorbed in ourselves and our pain actually multiplies the pain.  What seems to be a help becomes a hindrance.

We’re going through some refining big-time these days, my family and my church family.  We’ve got to lean into it, even when it hurts, because it’s for our good.   Then we need to realize that it’s not only for our good, but so we can be better at reaching to people who don’t know God or His love yet.  It’s not about us.

So I say to the Klotz family and to the New Life family, “When you’re hurting, somebody needs you.”  Look outwardly, strain your necks and hearts to see who you can love on and encourage today, lean into the refining but then keep looking at God and the purpose of it all:  to make us more like Him so we can bring more of his lost kids back to Him.

And thanks, Grandma.