The girls have been gone for almost two weeks now. It's getting a little easier, but I still miss them from somewhere so deep in my heart. God has taught us so much through this, and continues to do so. One thing He has reminded me of so many times, and really one of the things that has pulled us through this trial, is the knowledge that this is all so temporary. Pain, no matter how deep it may be, is always such a brief moment in our existence - nothing at all when we think of the eternity He has for us. And it is always worth it to use our brief time here on earth for whatever it is he asks us to do. So we just have to keep our gaze on Him, only glancing at the world, and know everything we experience here is only temporary.
He has also taken this trial and used it to show that He is the only thing we need to have joy. He has proven that He is our refuge, and WILL provide in our times of need. My heart has been comforted by verses in the bible like John 16:33, Psalm 55:22, and Nahum 1:7 where God reminds us that there is nothing on this earth that we can face that he does not already know, and that he longs to be our comforter. He has been just that, carrying us when we are weak.
2 Corinthians 1:5 says, "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." How incredible to know that when we suffer for the kingdom that we are sharing in Christ's suffering. This also means that anything that we experience is only an overflow of what Christ has already taken for us - he already knows and understands our suffering.
What really struck me about all of these verses though, is the pre-requisite to recieving what is promised in them. Christ promises to comfort us in our suffering, to be our refuge, and to walk with us through our trials. However, these verses all assume that we are sacrificing for the kingdom. We cannot experience the overflowing comfort that 2 Corinthians 1:5 refers to, if we are not already experiencing the suffering of Christ for the kingdom.
So as difficult as this has all been, it is what is expected of His children - to suffer with him to advance the kingdom. And as Christ carries us through this experience, there is nothing else for us to do but to beg Him for another opportunity to serve Him - another opportunity to join with him in suffering. And it is all worth it. It is all so temporary.
None of these are new ideas - but they are comforting in trial. I pray we all suffer for the kingdom!
A couple of prayer requests - we have two boys staying with us right now (just for a few days). If you could pray that their short time with us is meaningful. And for patience (5 and 7 year old boys, I believe, have more energy than any other population on earth :) ).