Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Treasure Hunt Tuesday: At Every Turn

My favorite thing about writing these Treasure Hunt Tuesday posts is how the intentionality brings to mind so many blessings I might have forgotten about too quickly otherwise. However, the difficulty that comes with recounting the multitude of gifts is trying to narrow down what to actually write for you!

This week I can’t help but share a treasure from the Bible study I’m doing with a special group of “chicks.”

We are delving into the book of 2 Corinthians with Kelly Minter’s study All Things New. It’s actually one I went through on my own two years ago and felt God had perfectly timed for me in that season. I had written so many extra notes and prayers in the margins of my book that I decided I needed a fresh copy to have plenty of room to write this time through as well. Even just two days into the “homework,” I’m already grateful for that decision!

So much in the first chapter of 2 Corinthians has been dear to my heart for many years, but it hit me afresh this time, too. In verse 5, the apostle Paul gives us this encouragement:

“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (NIV84)

To expand on this concept in the study, Kelly gives an illustration of two rivers in Brazil that meet to form the start of the Amazon River. They are vastly different in appearances, make-up, and flow, but they come together as one powerful force. In a similar way, she noted that Christ’s sufferings and comfort don’t seem to mesh from our point of view, yet “you will never find one without the other--the sufferings of Christ and His comfort flow together.”

Kelly then encourages us to look back on what we have suffered in our own lives and asks “how has Christ’s comfort met you at every turn?”

As soon as I read those words, my entire spirit shifted, and I scribbled out the overflow of my heart in the margin of the page. I knew the space provided under the question itself would definitely not suffice!

“Lord, truly You have met me at every turn. How quickly I forget. Please forgive me. Thank You for…”

And I continued by listing one difficult season after another and loss upon loss over the years, but my focus was on how God has shown Himself to me in each one. And here’s what gets me the most: one by one God brought to my mind the names of so many people who helped me through each devastating stretch. My eyes start to fill with tears as my heart floods with gratitude. Once I started naming them, more and more would come to the front of my thoughts. And even though some of the people I listed have since died and others have left, this I know:

God has met me at every turn.

He keeps providing just what I need right when I need it, even if it sometimes takes me a while to see it. So when my vision is clouded by discouragement or loneliness, I can look back and remember the faithfulness of God. He has shown Himself faithful throughout Scripture and throughout my own life. And He will show Himself faithful to the end.

I’m reminded of an exchange someone shared on Twitter recently from Josh Howerton:
“An older Christian in my life had more peace than me about a hard situation today.
 I said, ‘You have more faith than me.’
 He responded, ‘No, I have more experience with a faithful God.’
 I’ll never forget that.”
Wow, what a great example of how remembering God’s faithfulness to us can uplift and strengthen those around us, too.

So how can we best respond to the overflowing compassion, care, and comfort God so faithfully provides? We give Him praise, and we share His comfort with others.

“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.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV84)

I’d love to hear from you as well! How has God shown you His compassion and comfort in difficulty or suffering? How have you shared His comfort with those around you in their troubles? What other treasures have you been finding lately? Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message!

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