“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NLT
If there’s one thing that we all share, one thing that we all have in common it is that each one of us has a story. Despite the differing details and whether or not you believe it’s a “good” story, we all have a story, and although some of our pasts might be slightly more sordid than others, the fact remains that you and I have a story. Having a story is one thing. Having a story to share is quite another. That’s the difference that Jesus Christ makes.
I have always connected with people’s stories; you know, how they got to where they are today, every bump (or collision) in the road that they needed to overcome along the way, and ultimately how they met Jesus through it all. Stories of redemption are powerful; they are riveting. “I once was broken, but now I’m healed. I once was lost, but now I’m found.” – that is the song of the redeemed. The difference between anyone’s story and a testimony is Jesus. Because the fact remains that you and I both have a story, but is it one of tragedy alone, or has Jesus turned your tragedy into a testimony?
I’ve always loved 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, but my affection for these verses have grown over the last few years as my understanding of grace has increased. I was a wretched mess, lost in sin and wounded because of it. My desperate need for the promised comfort that these verses describe was in large part due to my foolish choices. My wandering from the Lord had ushered massive amounts of pain into my life, and His comfort and His presence came to be the only hope of healing that I had. God’s comfort was freely given and fully satisfied my broken heart, and after finally coming to a place of healing in my life, I have been repeatedly amazed at how God has continued to bring others across my path who are also in desperate need of comfort – whether because of their own sin or not, I have been able to extend the comfort I received to those who are now in need of it themselves. That is how we turn tragedy into testimony. That is how we allow God to redeem our past and make something beautiful from it. That is how we begin to see God “working all things for the good of those who love Him and those who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Do you have just a story, or have you allowed God to transform your story into a testimony? How are you using the past He has brought you through to illuminate Christ and to give Him glory? Every time you extend the comfort you have received from the Lord to another, you are being the hands and feet of Jesus. Jesus with skin on. How has God transformed your tragedy into a testimony? Begin by sharing that story and you’ll begin to see God’s comfort flowing out of you through each word. So many of God’s people have powerful testimonies but are living powerless lives because they refuse to share their story, thus never experiencing the power of personal testimony and the comfort it can bring. Behind every crack, beneath every broken piece is a part of your story that God is weaving together, for His glory and for your good. Have you ever thought that your story isn’t really about you at all, but about what our mighty, awesome, and powerful God can do with it and through it to reach countless others who are lost? As you ponder these thoughts, I would be so bold to ask of you one thing: Share your story with someone today, and begin to see your tragedy turned into testimony.