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God's Comfort

All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God's comfort.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-7 (NLT)

Barbara Gail Bliss lives in Colorado. She began having severe panic attacks in her mid-thirties. Within weeks she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She had no history of mental illness, so this experience was frightening. A great doctor, the right medications, and a change in diet stabilized her system but didn't answer her deeper questions. Where was God, and what was her role in the healing process?

Barbara became more active in her church. She devoured scripture, and she looked for God everywhere. She kept a gratitude journal and learned to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). She deepened her prayer life. Her faith grew, and she sought to love and forgive others and herself more. Sixteen years later, God delivered her from fear.

God heals us, but not always in our time or on our terms. Barbara still has bipolar disorder, but in Christ, her soul is more at peace than before her breakdown. She no longer has mood swings, and she is defined more by her courage. Her long journey through the wilderness prepared her to answer God's call: "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God" (Isaiah 40:1 NIV). Other people's struggles may differ from Barbara, but by offering the comfort she has received from God, she can help others find their own way home.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the many ways you comfort us. By your grace, help us to extend your comfort to others, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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