It takes people who’ve had trouble to comfort others in trouble.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and it’s so true, isn’t it? People who have helped me the most when I struggle? Who reach down deep and touch my heart when it’s wounded or bruised? The people God’s used are those who’ve struggled themselves. And I’m thinking of Caitlyn. She’s a beautiful, bright woman who’s a paraplegic in a wheelchair. Caitlyn became disabled when, decades ago, she was shot in the back by an ex-boyfriend – jealous. Yeah, he was really an ex-boyfriend. My goodness, that night changed everything. From the onset, she suffered one physical problem after the next, and over the years, she’s had countless surgeries. Caitlyn lives with chronic pain, but she’s a buoyant follower of the Lord Jesus. She’s never played the victim, even though she did nothing to invite the terrible tragedy – that shot in the back – that altered her life. Yes, she’s struggled with depression, but she knows it comes with a serious health condition, and so she’s constantly clinging to Christ through thick and thin.
For years, I have watched Caitlyn do this. She does not skate the surface of her Christian life or try to put up a good front. She is optimistic and filled with hope, but she’s also honest enough to say, “I need help; I’m getting discouraged here, and I can feel depression coming on.” I love that she’s transparent without whining or complaining. And so, whenever I’m feeling depressed, I reach out to her. She’s been through the same school of suffering. Her tears are real. And so, I am free to share mine with her. And in this way, man, do we encourage one another. We both grieve; we both cry; we both confess our wrestlings, but we cling to Christ. We quote each other Scripture; we pray and bless one another; share our courage and victories. For us, it’s a way of putting 1 Thessalonians 5:11 into practice; it says, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
Caitlyn builds me up because, even through tears and discouragement, she clings to God’s promises. This woman has counseled herself in the Word of God. She knows the biblical principles which help her weather every storm. She believes that although her Savior is the God of all hope, he can also weep with her. The one in whom she trusts cried tears of agony. So she’s drawn to Christ’s transparency and vulnerability. That he, too, could cry; that he could weep, and yet still exude unwavering hope in the Father!
It’s this sort of hope that I want to share with you today. Because you may have gone through a tragic situation like Caitlyn’s. You’ve suffered a life-altering injury that’s brought on depression. Well, if you believe you’re not quite skilled enough to counsel yourself in God’s Word, consider seeing someone who is. A certified biblical counselor, they can help you work through your dark emotions in light of God’s Word. And if you need help with it, our team at Joni and Friends would love to connect you with a certified biblical counselor in your area. You can get all the details at joniradio.org. And while you’re on our website, watch a special video I’ve posted about the good, the blessings that can come out of suffering. Because there’s hope; Jesus had enough pain in his life to make him sympathetic to people like Caitlyn and me and you. So don’t you dare bear your pain alone. Let us help you connect with a certified biblical counselor. Just visit us at joniradio.org where we always love sharing hope in every hardship. Again, that’s joniradio.org. God bless you today, and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends!