Today’s Truth

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 receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NIV emphasis added).

Friend to Friend

Chris, one of my friends, was in a seminary class when someone raised his hand and asked the professor: What is your best advice on how to be a good pastor?”

“Empathy,” the professor replied. “Have empathy.”

Then Chris raised his hand. “How do you get empathy?

With a trace of sad knowing in his eyes, the wise older man replied, “Suffer.”

Chris now understood. Empathy isn’t something you learn; empathy is something you live.

One of the greatest ways God puts to use what he puts us through is by creating in us a deeper sense of compassion than we would have ever known without the trauma. The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, meaning “to suffer with.” Compassion for brokenness comes from brokenness. There’s really no other way.

When we hold the hands of weary friends, not as people who can fix their problems, but as people who understand their pain and “suffer with” them, it gives them comfort. I’ll walk through this with you. I get it. I may not understand the particulars of your struggle, but I do understand disappointment and heart-wrenching pain. Only when we have experienced our own disappointment can we sympathize with the disappointment of others.

One of my greatest gifts from the loss of our child was a deeper compassion for women who struggle with infertility and loss. No one in my family had ever died before in my lifetime except my grandma, but her death was expected because she was old. However, when my baby died, that was not expected. When she died, something else in me was born—a deep-seated compassion for those who have prayed for years but not received the hoped-for reply, for the women whose dreams became nightmares, and for women who wanted answers but got none.

Paul wrote, “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 receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, emphasis added).

The word translated “comfort” in this verse is the Greek word parakalōn. It comes from the root words para and kaleo, which mean “to call near, to invite, invoke.” When we tell our stories to someone who is hurting, we come near to them and our words comfort them in a way that empty platitudes and easily recited Bible verses cannot.

When we say, “Let me tell you what I’ve gone through,” or “Let me tell you how I’ve failed,” the hearer no longer feels isolated and alone in her struggle. Suppose there is someone who understands. Suppose you are that someone, and you need to tell your story. When you share the comfort that you have experienced in your struggles, when you’re honest and vulnerable with the facts, it lets the hearer believe there is hope for a better story.

God doesn’t comfort us just to make us comfortable. He comforts us in order to make us comfort-able—able to comfort others. When we keep our stories to ourselves, we deny others the comfort that is ours to give.

No one can comfort a woman with cancer like a woman who has also heard the word malignant from a doctor’s diagnosis.

No one can comfort the mother of a prodigal like a mother who has also worn her knees raw praying for her child to come home.

No one can comfort an abandoned wife like another woman who has also watched her husband walk out the door.

No one can comfort a woman who’s struggling with the shame of an abortion like a woman who has experienced forgiveness and grace for her own.

When you tell your story, you give your listener the gift of knowing that she is not alone. She will breathe a sigh of relief that says, “I thought I was the only one. Finally, someone who understands.”

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the hard times because they have made me stronger, wiser, and more compassionate toward others. Help me not to waste what I’ve been through, but to use what I’ve learned about You through the struggles to help someone else get through theirs.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

How can you use what you’ve learned about God during those struggles to help others?

More from the Girlfriends

If you haven’t gotten your copy of When You Don’t Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories, now’s the time. You don’t need to carry the burden of a painful past any longer. And if you have already read the book, think of someone you know who needs that healing message! You might be the catalyst to her biggest victory ever.

© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

16 Responses to “God Puts to Use What He’s Put Us Through”

  1. Melanie says:

    I’m struggling with why I’m still working as a journalist… why I’m still working in general. Your devotion really spoke to me … why God still has me doing what I’m doing.

    When you tell your story, you give your listener the gift of knowing that she is not alone. She will breathe a sigh of relief that says, “I thought I was the only one. Finally, someone who understands.”

    Please pray for clarity for me … that I can hear God’s voice and know if it’s time to go and focus solely on my family.


  2. cathy says:

    Thank you Sharon for such a valuable reminder of the benefit of going through difficult times and sharing it with others. If even one person is given hope through my sharing, the effort would be well worth it!

  3. Terra says:

    Wow. I needed to hear this. Need to get out of my own pity party and into kingdom business. I have always known that what the enemy uses for evil the Lord will use for good, but when you are going through hard life stuff it’s easy to forget this truth.
    It is so easy to get tangled up in the enemies snare of disbelief and self loathing.
    Thank you for this reminder. I could use prayers of discernment and courage. Thank you again for this reminder! Such good stuff!

  4. Marcia says:

    I need a miracle, to be able to find an affordable clean safe place to live. Even though I do not want to leave where I’m at more than anyone else knows, I need to. I need more faith in stepping out of a relationship I’ve been in for at least 10 years. I really want us to work out but he doesn’t. This makes me feel like I’m no good. Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts
    Thank you

  5. Brenda says:

    Wow! What perfect God-timing! My son and DIL delivered their stillborn baby girl on March 31 at @ 10pm. A routine Dr visit the day before, only 2 weeks before the due date of their first child, revealed there was no heartbeat. Ultrasound indicated the cord around her neck numerous times.
    We marveled at her perfectly formed body as we cradled her lifeless body, showering her with our love in that first and last encounter (this side of heaven). I could write pages of God’s mercy and grace throughout the ordeal. Of His handiwork all around. I will share only one…God gave me the sweetest vision, most likely in a dream the nite before the delivery…I saw a precious little baby girl, with the biggest brown eye and brown hair, posing so perfectly. Alive and smiling. I know in the presence of Jesus. And when I saw her that first time, she looked like the little bay girl in my dream.
    Despite His promises of hope, I keep on going to all the what ifs and should have beens. There is no avoiding the pain. The heartbreak and sorrow is real. One must always wake-up from the escape of sleep to face the harsh reality of loss/death. Sharon, I have read your about the loss of your baby girl in previous devos, and my heart broke for you. But little did I know that one day your experience would be the reality of our family. Your words would one day be exactly the words I needed to hear.
    I’ve been through many struggles in my life, and I can attest to the hard times that have made me stronger. James 1:2-4 have been my go-to verses for decades. All preparing me for this devastating loss. I know all that. But right now, in trying to escape the pain, I’m reminded that my Heavenly Father’s purpose will never be thwarted(Job 42:2) and Romans 8:28 is what’s getting me through today. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
    Thank you for your devo. May I also take this pain to learn more about our faithful Father. May I one day be a vessel to help others through a similar loss.

  6. T.A. says:

    Wow! I missed reading this devotion yesterday, but I believe it was right on time for me this morning. I have been masking this deep depression that I have been experiencing for years. Going about life as if everything is fine, wearing masks if you will. This reminds me that if I truly allow God to comfort me maybe I can confront some things in my life and make some decisions that I have been avoiding. I loved the phrase “He comforts us to make us comfort-able- able to comfort others.” I’ve always been told that I give great advice and I’m glad that even in my struggles, that only I know that I have, God is always there!

  7. Wanda says:

    Marcia, your words resonated with me so very much. I have spent the greater part of my 56 years on this Earth thinking that I am no good and less than everyone else. I let my past sins and other people define me. I always believed in God and Jesus as my Saviour but I always defined myself as someone who messed up and didn’t even really know how God defines me. I have worked relentlessly over my lifetime to try to make people see how Ive changed and that I am not that person anymore but even though Ive lived for the Lord all these years I still hear that voice in my head saying “You aren’t worth caring about.” Even though I have a great life now– Great husband who reaffirms me every day and a great family who does the same –a great job — a great church– sometimes that old voice comes back and I feel like I am that little lost soul all over again. I want to encourage you to look into scripture to learn just how precious you are to God. He loves you and if you are a Christian He only sees the blood of Jesus when he looks at you and He calls you His daughter. Do a Google search on “Who am I in Christ” . Please don’t let anyone else define who you are — You matter!!! Y-O-U MATTER!!!!! I will be praying that you will be in God’s will whatever you decide to do and I will be praying that God will reveal to you in His Word just how much He loves . You are precious in His sight!!

  8. Tiffany says:

    Sharon, your writing was very rich and good. Thank you for the time and effort you put into it.

  9. Whitney says:

    Wanda, I felt like your encouragement and story were spoken right to me as well. Thank you <3 I struggle to feel truly loved, and I need to meditate on the Scriptures on who I am to God

  10. I have been struggling with my identity, the reson that i strugled with my identity is because i was listining to what people say about me and what other people think how I should be living my life. I stoped dreaming and lost all hopes, I felt insecure and worth nothing,I went through depression and I called myself a failure and have no value.I forgot what God says about and I believed what other people think of me, BUT God is teaching me that i dont need anybody’s approval to be happy, He also teaching me that through praise and worship, i will remember who I am, I will remember my identity, I am the daughter of almighty God,I am valuable, I am loved, I am redeemed , He Made me, He Created me, He sent His son to Die to me, He prepared me a place in Heaven. through praising God, I become more secure, the more i praise Him the more I know who i am really are.

    while I am praising< God reminds me that He hav been always with me, that He never left me nor forsaken me, He is teaching me to praise him during good time and hard time, He is teaching me to stop trying pleasing people and focus on Him, and He also keep reminding me to share my story.

    thank you Sharon, You have been always a blessing in life. God has been using you for many years to speak and direct me to toward the right path. Love you girlfriends in God and praying that one day I will have the chance to share my story with you:)

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8