When you think of things that bring you comfort, what comes to mind? Fresh baked cookies. A warm bubble bath. Your favorite fuzzy blanket. What about the comfort that only comes when you feel like someone understands how you feel, even if it comes through pain?
That’s right where I was. Wishing for Friday afternoon on a Tuesday morning. My frustrations were minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, but I was still feeling stressed.
I longed for comfort and cookies just weren’t cutting it.
I avoided a five-car-pile up on my way to work, but ran over some of the debris which totally popped my tire. $250 later, I was riding on a new wheel.
And slamming my brakes to avoid that wreck re-aggravated previous injuries from an accident I’d been in two years ago, so my back was killing me!
Then a tree in our front yard died, and as the new one was planted, an unmarked cable line got snapped leaving us without internet for six days.
Fortunately, we did our on-line bill payment when we still had internet, but we messed up and set them to pay three days prior to the paycheck being deposited. And we just spent $250 we hadn’t planned on!
Minor but stressful. Kinda like a mosquito bite that won’t stop itching.
At a glance they all seem unrelated. Little did I know God was up to something.
So I sought comfort under my fuzzy blanket with a cup of coffee, my Bible, and an icepack on my back. I began to vent my frustrations to the only one I know truly understands – Jesus.
As I did, He guided me to 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
“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.”
Oh how those were the words I needed to hear! God comforts me in all my troubles. I soaked that reality in for a bit, but the more I looked at the verse I noticed it says He comforts, but it doesn’t say He fixes.
He will comfort me so I can then comfort someone else in a similar situation.
And then it happened. I began to feel a lift. At first, a lift of my eyebrows questioning if my circumstances could be used to help someone else.
After dropping my son off at school, I headed to the bank to figure out what to do about our little financial fumble. And that’s where I met Julie.
I’ve had conversations with this kind bank manager in the past and found out that we both have teenage daughters. Mine has been driving for a year, and Julie’s daughter just got her license.
We’d laughed about how weird it is to have our little girls sitting behind the wheel. Wasn’t it just yesterday they were in a car seat smiling at us in the review mirror?
Julie had shared how driving was not natural for her daughter. She’d already had one minor fender bender, and Julie feared there’d be more.
So on this late summer day when I thought I needed Julie’s help with my checking account, it turns out that she needed something I could give instead.
The minute I came through the door and saw her face, I knew something was wrong.
“My daughter was just in an accident! And this time others were involved, and it was her fault!” Oh no! Julie had gotten the phone call that no parent wants to get.
But God had placed me there in that moment. Me. The girl who’s been in three car accidents. I listened as she cried and worried about what to do. I was able to say I understand. I’ve been there. And even though right now things seem horrible, you will get past this. Your daughter will get past this. I shared how I’d had my first two accidents while I was young, but really learned from them. They actually made me a better driver. More aware. More careful. And it was over 25 years before the third one happened.
And then I saw it. The lift – in Julie. The pain wasn’t gone, but there was hope. Somehow sharing my pain helped comfort Julie in her pain.
Then she had to go. Police reports and insurance papers were calling. And a daughter who needed her mom. Her mom who had just received a little comfort and was hopefully able to pass some on to her hurting little girl.
As she left, I realized I didn’t even have a chance to talk to her about my account, but I was now late for work. I’d have to deal with it later.
I walked in the break room still trying to wrap my mind around what had just happened, when something in my mailbox caught my eye. Not cookies or a fuzzy blanket, but an envelope with a receipt for my paycheck that had already been deposited. Really?! My financial freak out was totally unnecessary! But. . .if I wouldn’t have had it, along with those car accidents, I would’ve missed an opportunity to give comfort to another hurting soul.