He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:4
A cool afternoon in November. Beloved authors Adrian and Bridget Plass are showing my wife Merryn and me around the Yorkshire Dales. Merryn and Bridget stride
ahead while Adrian and I trail behind. “I was sorry to hear what you’d been through when we last spoke,” Adrian says. “How are you both doing now?” “On the whole,” I say, “we’re doing better. We still feel the loss at times, but I guess we’re trying to focus on the up-side of our situation, and the opportunities it brings.”
Much has happened since Adrian and I last spoke a year ago. Back then Merryn and I had been enduring the darkest moment of our lives, bringing our decade-long dream of having a child to an end. Merryn had been devastated. When an opportunity at Oxford University opened for her, we’d relocated to the UK from Australia for her to start again. “I can understand that,” Adrian says. “But that will only take you so far.” We walk a little further before Adrian explains what he means. “No matter how hard we try,” Adrian says, “we cannot put a positive spin on the crucifixion. There was no ‘up-side’ to it, and Jesus didn’t try to find one. Instead, he did something else entirely. Have you ever noticed how many people Jesus ministered to as he hung on the cross?”
Adrian runs down the list. While on the cross, Jesus ministered to his mother by putting her into John’s care (John 19:26-27), to a thief hanging next to him (Luke 23:39-43), to the people who crucified him (Luke 23:33-34), to a Roman centurion who came to believe in him (Luke 23:47; Matthew 27:54), and to all of us
by forgiving our sins through his sacrifice. “All of this was done in the middle of his suffering,” Adrian adds, “before things came good at his resurrection.” I’d never seen it like that before. Adrian continues. “Yes, there may be some benefits in you being childless, but you’ll also find it diffi cult and lonely at times. Yet out of your suffering will come opportunities to minister to people in ways you otherwise never could.”
And as emails from readers of our story roll in each week, and as they tell us they’ve found new life and hope and faith through its telling, I don’t think I’ll ever forget Adrian’s words.
Adapted from Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings (Thomas Nelson,
2013) by Sheridan Voysey. Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker and broadcaster contributing regularly to Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2.
May 25th, 2015 - Posted & Written by Together Magazine