A number of you have asked about Anne (everyone calls her “Annie”). She finally got her broken jaw undone after being wired shut for twice as long as originally intended, only to find out it’s not healing properly so she is going to have to have more surgery down the road.
This kind of thing is typical for Anne. She seems to always get the worst of it. She doesn’t break her jaw in one place, she breaks it in four. She doesn’t heal in 4 weeks, she heals in eight, and then she doesn’t heal right.
On her best days she is all consumed with the people she is serving as a Physician’s Assistant. She looks them in the eye when they tell her about their pain. They feel someone in a medical jacket actually cares, because she does. She remembers everything they tell her without looking at a clipboard or writing it down. She has been known to out-diagnose doctors because she feels the patients’ pain. She has been known to crawl into bed next to the dying so they don’t die alone. When her mouth was still wired shut, she was back working at the same hospital she was in only a few weeks prior, helping a patient in the same room, in the same bed she was in. She complains about the long hours and the constant demand, but in truth, she wouldn’t have it any other way. (I feel a little like I’m writing a Dos Equis commercial about the most interesting woman in the world, but in this case, it’s all true.)
On her worst days — I’m not going to go there very long, because on her worst days all this attention goes inward, and everyone around her is consumed with her problems. But that’s okay because those who love her know it comes with the package. It comes with living larger than life.
When she asks, “Why me?” I can’t always tell her it’s because she is privileged (though she is). I just have to look at her and know that she is worthy of enduring pain, of identifying with more people. Except for on her worst days, what she is going through is not about her.
Think about yourself, because the same thing is true for you. Whatever you are going through is ultimately not for or against you, it is for someone else, and the more you get, the more you can give. That goes as much for pain and hardship as it does for good things. Maybe even more.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NLT)
Marti was studying this passage yesterday and pointed out to me that the word “comfort” here would be better translated “strength” or “strengthen,” which makes better sense, because we’re not talking about the kind of comfort that says, “Now, now, everything’s going to be all right.” It’s a strengthening kind of comfort. Much more solid. Read through these verses again and substitute strength or strengthen for comfort and you’ll get the idea.