2 Corinthians 1:3-5
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. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
The F5 tornado that tore through the area 10 years ago today altered the lives of many people in the Birmingham area. The twister obliterated most of Oak Grove, Rock Creek, McDonald Chapel, Edgewater, and The , survivors shared stories of how they have been able to rebuild their lives since that tragic moment on April 8, 1998. Marcus Coleman was spotlighted, because he had lost his bride of one year. He was working on a class project at UAB when the sirens eerily warned of the powerful catastrophe. Colette, the wife of Marcus Coleman, was visiting her grandmother’s home in Edgewater for a family birthday celebration that dark evening. Unfortunately, Colette did not live to tell her story. . In Sunday’s edition of
This story is important to me, because Colette was a former co-worker of mine at the Sheraton Birmingham. As I was saddened by the loss of this beautiful person, I cannot help but consider what her husband must have experienced. I can’t fathom the pain so many went through in the aftermath of the most treacherous tornado to touch down in . One thing I do remember is being so grateful that the tornado did not spread its wrath during the day hours. A wiped out and flattened Oak Grove High School answers my relief that the storm occurred in the evening.
I recount the minutes as I prepared for this storm. I was living in my home in Trussville with my son and husband at the time. Connor was almost three years old. My husband was at a going-away party in Southside with co-workers at the time of the storm. Connor and I hid under a solid oak desk made out of a door that had been built for the downstairs office of our home. The reason this moment resonates so clearly to me is that as I look in my rear-view mirror I was embarking the most painful twister of my personal life that I have ever realized. From that time in 1998 to close to the same time of year in 2001, my life took a turn that I could never have imagined. It’s a time in my life that I never would want to repeat. The trial I am speaking of is the tragedy of divorce. Nothing would ever be the same.
Marcus Coleman shared how God has restored his life with a wife whom he married in 2004 and the gift of 18 month old twin daughters. He spoke of how he appreciates life more and is less impatient. He describes his life as blessed and how he doesn’t let a lot of things affect him now. Through the tragedy, he declares how he grew closer to the Lord.
I too declare my personal growth in the Lord. Many blessings come from brokenness. I credit the strong faith I have today due to the storms I experienced at that time of my life. I see things differently now, and I cherish the lessons the Lord has taught me from the time of my divorce to the present. I am able to “weather” the storms of life more effectively now that I realize my JOY comes from Jesus. Divorce is not a concern with my forever husband Jesus Christ — who is always there for me.
Throughout that trial, God molded me to become an encourager for the discouraged….to become a comfort to those who have also dealt with the pain of divorce or a difficult break-up. Today I can honestly say that I “consider it all JOY.” I admit that I went through a period of bitterness, but ultimately, I began to understand that I had a choice. I chose to move forward and trust in the sovereign power of God by taking the steps with Him necessary to heal. I began to believe that He was my Perfect Counselor, in addition His services were free. Most importantly, He has used me as a conduit of His unconditional love. My platform as His Servant would not have its solidity without the trials He allowed me to travail.
We were created for His GLORY and His purposes. We need to be thankful for the places in the wilderness we have had to walk. There are so many hurting and so many hopeless, therefore, He has established us as ambassadors of His Hope. I know that without Him I could do nothing. My writings would be futile without my background. My positive or challenging experiences would have been endured in vain without the reward of receiving Him and developing purpose and passion for His Kingdom.
My message today is dedicated to all who have experienced the pain of death or divorce — and honestly, I feel the two are similar. I want to tell you that whatever you are facing now, remember that we have a Father Who makes “all things new.” He hurts for you, and He wants you to make your foundation in Him. He is the Author of the fresh start, and promises to be close to the brokenhearted.
He understands pain, because He suffered more pain than we will ever know. “This too shall pass” for one day there will be no more tears and no more pain. Until that day, it is our job on this journey to share the GOOD NEWS that the COMFORTER is available to all who seek His presence. Keep your eyes on Him! If you choose to look in your rear-view mirror, isolate that action to study only how far you have come. You are a SURVIVOR. Speak words of LIFE over yourself and with His power, you will be able to shine that LIFE of LIGHT to others. Appreciate the scars that have made you smarter. For true wisdom doesn’t just happen, it has to be learned from the Teacher who knows all things.
THE HEALER KNOWS YOUR HEARTACHE
BYPASS BITTERNESS–BECOME BETTER
RECEIVE HIS LOVE AND COMFORT–
HE DESIRES A BEAUTIFUL LIFE FOR YOU!