I am excited to have Norma Gail with me today, sharing a story from her heart about the shadow of suffering. Norma recently released in April 2014, a contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, set in Scotland and New Mexico. Please leave a warm welcome for Norma in the comments below.
“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 receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Shadow and light have spiritual meanings which became very clear through the suffering and death of a dear friend.
I grew up in a small church, the name of which translated to “Shadow of the Mountain.” One day, as my friend lay dying, I discovered that when the sun rises over the hill to the east of our mountain home it first lights up the tops of the mountain peaks. The shadows in the valley recede more slowly as the sun rises higher in the sky.
I have a chronic medical condition creating a lifetime of physical pain, while my friend’s cancer was aggressive and fast-growing. Her suffering was intense, but within three months, she received her ultimate healing in heaven.
Like the valley left in shadow, while the sun shines on the peaks above, suffering caused both of us to look up and long for the light. God’s word says with certainty that we will not always be in darkness. The strengths of a person are often best revealed by the interplay of light and shadow in their lives.
Before cancer confined her to bed, my friend talked about Christ to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. It opened doors that were closed before. My suffering enables me to talk to people suffering trials of all kinds. The concepts I have learned transfer to many situations.
The valley is still and quiet as the sun slowly fills it with light. Over time, suffering instills the patience to wait, knowing that in His perfect time God will reveal Himself and grant release.
When circumstances put me in the shadows, I do not need to be overcome. The One who bore all our suffering, promises me comfort and light. Comfort, shared with the hurting people God brings into our lives can turn our shadows to light.
© Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, March 2011 & September 19, 2014
Norma is a former Bible Study Fellowship discussion leader who established the first weekly women’s Bible studies in her church in 2003 and continues to lead a weekly small group. Her devotionals, poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 19 years. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She is a former RN and homeschool/soccer mom who loves family research, history, and Scotland. Norma lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 38 years. They have two adult children.
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