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All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.  II Corinthians 1:3-5   NLT

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.   II Cor. 1:3-5 (The Msg)

My sister and her family swam against a powerful tide and swirling waters of grief, fear, hurt and the big blackness of the unknown and have finally come crawling out onto the shore of the other side – the other side of this particular storm.  Still dripping from their exhausting ordeal, my sis turned around to throw a rope to me as I swim through unfamiliar waters hauntingly like the ones she just stepped out of, sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the size of the waves, sometimes starting to lose heart.  She’s been there.  She knows how hard it is.  She also has grown in faith and knows God is good.  He’s proven to her that He is in control and is able to do anything.  He led, taught, comfort and sustained her.  He carried her through out of love for her and her husband and sons, but also so that she could reach out and offer help to me and others that might face similar stormy times.

After surviving breast cancer, I can reach out to those facing biopsy results or a scary diagnosis and really understand what they’re going through.  I can share how God showed me He was ahead of me all the way, how he steeled my faith and walked with me.  I can pull them close in a knowing embrace, hoping for God’s unexplainable peace to pass from me and my experience to penetrate their heart.

For some reason, help from someone who’s been there is even more meaningful than just from someone who means well.  They understand.

God’s help, love and comfort are never just for us alone.   Just like that Bible verse above says in II Corinthians 1:3-5, God gives us what we need right when we need it, so we can turn around to someone behind us in need and offer it to them.  It’s kind of like a big assembly line of God’s grace and compassion…passing from one to the other to another.   I still think God is the One really helping me, but for some reason he chooses to help me through people who have walked ahead of me on their own rough portion of this path.  He chooses to use me.  He chooses to use you.

Don’t forget.  If God has helped you, share.  Turn around to see who needs you to pass on what God gave you.  Even in our hurting and growing and enduring, it’s still not about us.  It’s so that….