Ministering Through the Pain

 

A man comforts his anguished friend in the Children’s Hospital waiting area

“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10, NKJV).

“The God of all comfort… comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Cor. 1:3-5, NIV).

“My baby! My baby!” the young mother shrieked in grief, stumbling after the nurses solemnly pushing the metal cart. They emerged suddenly out of the double doors into the ICU waiting area. All of us other parents looked up with startled, sorrowful faces. On top of the cart was a tiny, still human form wrapped in paper. This mother’s little one had just departed into eternity.

I had to stop and compose myself, writing that last paragraph. I grabbed a washcloth to wipe the tears off my face. The memory stirs the deep places in me. But I wanted to share it with you, to let you know what it was like in that children’s hospital waiting area.

We sat on hard wooden benches there all day, waiting. Waiting to be let in to see our own babies. Waiting, watching other parents weep. The paint on the walls was peeling, the atmosphere silent and sad. Cold air moved in through the open windows, chilling our bones. I kept my winter coat on and sunk deeply into it, looking for comfort.

It would have been easy to numb myself to everyone else’s pain. I had plenty of my own to deal with. However, the Comforter was there, and I knew it. He was palpably there. He was sitting with all of us. He was hurting with us. Every chance I got, I wanted to share Him with the others. I wanted them to know how passionately He cared about their babies and their anguish.

I won’t lie and say that I was energetic about this sharing. Sometimes I just needed to sit there at length in my own silence, gathering strength. But when Holy Spirit gave me specific nudges, I moved on them. This provided me with unique ministry opportunities that will never repeat themselves again.

In those moments, I was ministering as a co-sufferer. There’s something sacred about that; something sacred about saying to someone next to you, “My heart is bleeding too. We are bleeding together. Beautiful, deeply caring Jesus is here, bleeding with us. He has wounds too. And He has power and love to provide us, far greater than this pain. His power and love will intervene for your baby and for you.”

I found that His power flowed through me at my most vulnerable in striking ways. This was because I really had absolutely nothing to give. I was spent. It was all Him. And He generously poured Himself out to those around me needing Him. On precious faces, I could see tangible comfort ease the distress lines. Jesus really was there with us, tangibly. I am eternally grateful to report that several of those priceless souls surrendered their lives to Jesus during that time.

I have subsequently come to understand that the Kingdom impact of Lily’s story was not only there at the hospital. I had posted daily updates on Facebook throughout her hospitalization. This was because I understood how vitally essential the prayers of the saints were to her healing. I urgently wanted everyone to know how to pray. I have since found out that my ongoing log of our experiences reached into many hearts and homes.

Since Lily’s return home, I have received countless messages from friends around the world sharing that my journey with Lily helped strengthen their faith. One in particular sticks out in my heart. A brother opened his heart to let me know that his wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. She is going through chemotherapy and battling for her life. He shared that my trust in God through our painful trial has leant him strength for his own. That is precious beyond words to me.

In every season of our lives, there will always be someone in our path that needs to encounter His love. In the most brutal seasons, it can be so hard to look beyond our own pain to reach out to others. Ultimately, though, doing so will help you through your own suffering.

When you experience the joy of seeing His love reach into the heart of someone who never experienced it before, you know. In the very core of you, you know how exceedingly worth the sacrifice it was to offer yourself as His instrument in those moments. That person is extraordinarily precious to Jesus. He would leave heaven to search for them. He already did. And now He went to great lengths to make sure that you are there, at their side. Open your heart up and let Him flow through you to them. He will, dear one. He will provide all the strength and all the love that you both need.

Those moments of my life in the ICU waiting room will never repeat themselves. The Hospital del Niňo in Lima, Peru, will not let me in now… because I don’t have a child staying there. Their security measures are severely strict, and guards parole every door and hallway. Those were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I can’t get them back. I am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity for Jesus’ love to flow through my embrace while I was there. I will probably never see those beautiful souls again, this side of heaven. But I will see them There.

“And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday” (Isa. 58:10, AMPC).

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Do you have a story of seeing God move through you in someone else’s life, in the midst of your own hardship? I’d love to hear about it!

13 thoughts on “Ministering Through the Pain

  1. Jennifer, this is precious and powerful. I just heard a testimony about a woman who went through cancer, and basically did what she could to bless the staff, and fellow patients. She ultimately received healing. Dark nights of the soul present opportunities like nothing else. God bless you and those you touch with His love ♥

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Powerful….

    Boy do I love this….”co-sufferer.”

    But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead….Philippians 3:7-11

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My eyes are glistening with tears! How powerful and how wonderful that you mnistered to others while going through such deep pain yourself. That is what God calls us to do, we comfort others with the comfort we get from HIM and yes, it can make such a difference in the lives of others!
    Knowing someone is going through similar pain that you are can mean so much for you sense their understanding like no one else quite can. I think of some dear Moms at the Ronald McDonald house when I was there with my child and we leaned on each other. We were strangers before we met there, but our shared pain bonded us together!
    Hugs to you and so thankful to God for providing others to minister to us when we are hurting and for helping us to do likewise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your loving words! Goodness, I can so imagine the special bond you formed with the other moms at that time. Praise God for the opportunity to be His hands and heart to others going through such difficult things! Much love to you today ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the sharing and How gracious indeed is our God. My own experiences of journeying through the radium institute when I was undergoing radium myself was life-changing for similar experiences. How God moves in and through us when our own needs are somehow impacted by the needs of those around us even perhaps when we do not ‘feel’ in the right space. I have memories of His Amazing Grace not just to carry me through but the rich joy of the ‘others’ whose lives entwined with mine. Thank God indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Faye, I can so imagine the opportunities He gave you during that time! Thank You, Father, for those lives touched! I also wanted to mention, I read your post about the beads taht got scattered, yesterday. My jungle Internet connection was not cooperating well enough to leave a comment, but I enjoyed you sharing from your heart! I lost it the other day with someone myself, too. I’m so grateful for His tremendous tenderness towards us as we continue to grow in grace!

      Like

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