23rd October 2023

Jimmie Aaron Kepler shares



How To Be Comforted During Times of Hardships and Trials

I thought I knew how to minister to hurting families and person's facing death.

After all. I was a seminary trained minister and an ordained minister as well as an ordained deacon.

During the time of my wife's cancer journey, I had, with her permission, started a Facebook secret group.

The group's description was,
"A place for those that unconditionally love and care about Benita as she battles Neuroendocrine Carcinoma and Melanoma Cancer.
A family of friends, co-workers, and prayer warriors."

As I posted daily updates on her condition, shared how the group members could pray for her, and wrote a short daily devotional, thought to encourage both my wife and those praying for her

Something magical and mystical happened.

My wife Benita and I began ministering to those who were praying and ministering to her.

I was surprised when I received the first request for permission to share my daily devotion.

The reader asked if it would be okay to copy and send it to a friend that was battling cancer.
I had several cousins fighting cancer. A couple of them told me how they looked forward to my posting of the devotion every day.

One cousin committed that the short devotional post ministered to her because she knew we were living what she was experiencing.
The devotion was a real, first-person experience and prayer instead of just words on a page.

It was with her words that I realized how God was using the bad in our life for good to others.
My wife would write and send cards to others up until about ten days before she died.

Miss Benita would share encouragement and how God was sustaining her during her cancer experience.
She was able to comfort others in spite of her tribulation.

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is developing compassion for others.
Caring for a person with a long-lasting disease affects people in different ways.
Depression may come to reside with some people.
Other persons can become bitter.
Withdrawal from friends and family can occur with some.
You will find yourself tired, more tired than you thought you could ever become.

For the believer in Jesus, the chronic illness often mellows our heart to make us more compassionate.

The persistent disease allows us empathy.
It often becomes the point of rapport where we can care for and minister to not only our loved one but to others now walking down the pathway where we are currently helping our loved navigate.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV),

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

The verses are a reminder of what a wonderful God we have. He is the one who comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.

Why does He do this?
He does this where we can help others.

When family, friends, or co-workers are troubled, needing our support, sympathy, and encouragement, we can pass on to them the help and comfort God has given us.

Pray Using Scripture

Heavenly Father, I praise You for how wonderful you are.
I acknowledge You are the Father of the Lord Jesus.
I proclaim You as the one who wonderfully comforts and strengthens me in hardships and trials.
Thank you for teaching me how to soothe others by your example to me where I can give sympathy and encouragement.

Who do you know that could use a word of support today?

How can you prove that supportive word?
A card, a phone call, an email or text?
As a caregiver, we can pass on to others the help and comfort God has given us.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, "Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver's Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

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