My mother is a hero of the faith and embodies every characteristic of an overcomer. It’s one thing to walk through the devastation of a messy divorce, but to then have to do it all over again 12 years later? That just sucks. Plain and simple. And that’s not even a glimpse of the struggle my mama has walked through in her life. But because she is steadfastly devoted to Jesus, she always has a way of pulling it together and pouring out blessings on others.
Once the dust and ashes settled after her second marriage ended, my mom made something beautiful from what remained. She took the stones from both of her wedding sets and had an incredible custom ring made. The setting was made up of many rings crisscrossing and overlapping with bezeled diamonds of all sizes scattered about the loops of white gold. It was so unique and beautiful! When my older sister saw it she jokingly begged my mom to let her have it.
My mom wore the ring for a time, but when my sister began to experience significant struggle in her marriage and with her teenage son, my mom felt compelled to let her have it, but just for a time. It was a gesture of support; a reminder that the women in our family are strong and resilient.
A few years later, in the midst of serious financial struggle, my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Blood cancer. Right away, my sister knew it was time to pass the ring back to my mother. Once again, my mom wore it as a reminder of all she had already conquered. My mom is still battling MM, now many years later, but it wasn’t long after she was diagnosed that my sister needed the confidence boost and visual reminder of the your-life-sucks-more-than-mine-right-now ring, as it had come to be known. Her own marriage was ending and she was facing struggle from every angle. Without divulging her personal business, I’ll just say that every week it seemed a new layer of affliction was added to her daily battle to rebuild her life. It was a nightmarish time. The ring was a visual reminder of the overcoming strength that is in her blood.
That’s enough, right? You’d think the passing back and forth would be over now…
In 2015, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. Yet again, the ring was passed to her as a symbol of strength and a reminder of past victories as she fought with everything she had to beat a second form of that devilish disease. And she did it! Her strength had only increased as she won battle after battle throughout the years.
When my mom was finally cleared of breast cancer and my sister’s life was settling into happier times, my mom decided to give the ring to my sister for good. Enough was enough with the passing it back and forth. No more anticipation of when the other would need it more. That long and terrible season of struggle was finally over. I feel sure that when my mother is in Heaven, that ring will be a symbol of comfort for my sister in a time of tremendous grief and mourning.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says,
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (emphasis mine)
I have a heightened awareness of the so thats in the Word. I was born in 1980, so I suppose I teeter off the edge of the generational break into Millennial thinking in that I reeeeeallly like to know the why. I love it when the Bible says that something is... so that... something else. LOVE it. Whenever I come across those words, I circle them and pay close attention.
Read that scripture again. Did you see the so that?
He comforts us SO THAT we may be able to comfort those who need it THROUGH the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
My mom has always relied on Jesus as her strength. That ring has now become a symbol of how we move from strength to strength through the comfort of our Lord. Just like the ring was passed to the one who is grieving, Believers pass comfort to one another as if we are a conduit for the precious gift. Knowing this Truth can help us take a proper view of affliction, one that allows us to see our struggles as blessings. Matthew 5:4 says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” That is the most impossible thing I can fathom in my human brain right now, but I know that it’s true.
The opportunity to receive the gift of supernatural comfort from the Creator can only come in times affliction, grief, and suffering. We then receive the blessing of comfort so that we can be a comfort to others. So we pass that same comfort we've received miraculously and supernaturally to the one in our life who needs it most.
Just like Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to comfort and provide for those who mourn (Isaiah 61:1-3) while He was on the earth, His Holy Spirit continues that same work in a mysterious, unexplainable way today.
He takes our affliction and reshapes it into blessing.
He’s able to do in us what feels impossible to our human hearts simply by being who He is and showing Himself faithful in our time of need.
Our covenant relationship that we enter into through faith in Jesus guarantees that He will deliver, protect, answer, go to, rescue, and honor us who know His name. If you are grieving, afflicted, mourning, suffering, or even simply navigating tough circumstances, remember this promise to the people of God from Psalm 91:14-15 CSB:
14 Because he has his heart set on me,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows my name.
15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
(Again, emphasis mine)
You are free to call out to God and ask Him to make good on His promises if you are in need of comfort. Holy Spirit will do the work that only He can do, both in you and through others around you who are currently wearing the ring of comfort.
That is the work of the Church: to form rings of comfort around one another as we make our way through the tragedies and triumphs of this world.
I experienced this supernatural exchange today. Right before we literally turned our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11), I prayed through horrendous grief with my friend and fitness coach, Katie. She then immediately led me and about 30 other women through a cardio dance class in the midst of that emotional pain. When class was over she shared with the rest of the group about a tragedy that occurred in our community yesterday that is going to require the Church to form a ring of comfort around some families for a long time to come. We are all going to have to pass the gift continually as we receive it.
Katie also shared that we need to be okay with experiencing moments of joy while grieving. We had just danced our way through a lot of very big feelings. We got endorphins pumping and joyfully connected with one another through movement. It is possible to grab hold of gladness, even— no, especially when wearing the ring of comfort.
Friends, we have permission to allow joy to enter in, even when the world might expect something different out of us.
Our capacity to experience joy in the midst of sorrow is evidence of the blessing-- the holy work of God that is happening in us.
Are you in need of comfort today? Ask God to do the work of reshaping your affliction into blessing. A promise is a promise. His gift of comfort will be yours for the sharing.
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