"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" (2 Cor 1:3-4).
I was 14 years old in September 1966. I was home watching I Dream of Jeannie on television when the program was interrupted by a news bulletin: "Three prominent local businessmen have died in a plane crash in the mountains of Tennessee." That's how I learned of the death of my father.
It was difficult and painful growing up without a father. I loved and needed my dad. I couldn't understand why God would take him away from me so suddenly. I certainly didn't see the death of my father as a "blessing" in any sense of the word.
Yet I have seen blessings come out of that terrible tragedy. In the years since my father died, God has brought a number of men across my path that have lost fathers at an early age. Because of my own loss, I had an instant connection with others who suffered similar losses. We shared an experience that other people couldn't fully understand.
I went through a seven year period where I experienced major financial problems. I can't say that it was a blessing to go through those seven years of adversity, but God has used my trial to bring blessing to other people. It actually was a catalyst to move me into a whole new calling. When I meet someone who is going through a business failure or a financial loss, there's an instant bond between us of shared experience.
God can take our adversity—a heart attack, cancer, an automobile accident, violent crime, bankruptcy, a marriage crisis, the loss of a loved one—and transform that pain into encouragement for the people around us. We come out of those experiences stronger and better able to comfort others.
Although adversity may never be a blessing, God in His grace can bring blessing out of our adversity. The key is releasing the hurt and pain to the Lord so He can bring the needed healing to our lives. Why not give your circumstance to the Lord today and let Him use it in the lives of others. This will be the first step toward healing.