One of the many things that were said at T4G that resonated deep within my heart were CJ’s comments on how grateful suffering people are for those who do nothing other than BE THERE to suffer with them.
C.J.: “By God’s grace, when we care for people in the midst of suffering, they will never forget the difference we make. Their gratefulness will be deep and it will be profound and it will be unending.”
I have witnessed this personally as I laid in a hospital bed for 8 days and a good friend came and spent the night with me in a hospital chair. As my father in law did the same and then passed on into eternity and some came by with food, fruit, smiles and encouragement. As my wife has suffered with the headaches and dizziness of Chiari and people have cared for our kids with rides and meals and encouragments. Just the quick visits from brothers and sisters who acknowledge by their presence, “Hey I know you’re here and not where you’d like to be; I know it stinks, it hurts and is hard; But I’m here with you as I can be; I care about you, and am thinking of you, and praying for you, and will walk this road with you until God moves” is worth more than its weight in gold.
The meals. The emails. The acts of kindness to your children. The prayers. They are all graces of God that absolutely do rise to the top of things that one is grateful to God for. An enduring gratefulness not soon forgot. And through that season of suffering and being comforted and cared for by friends you find yourself being curiously drawn to draw near to others who are suffering and just be there.
2 Cor 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
Praise God for the seasons of suffering where His grace is seen anew. Where the suffering that Jesus Christ endured on behalf of my sin is understood and felt and valued more than it ever was. Praise God He conquered it, and one day, one glorious day, all will be made new.