Friday, November 2, 2018

Comfort to Keep You Going by Melinda Viergever Inman


Melinda Viergever Inman


Comfort to Keep You Going

When I began editing the manuscript, I was exhilarated. But, as I worked, discouragement grew and enlarged. I began to compare how much I could accomplish when I first began writing fiction ten years ago with what I can accomplish now.

I’m a writer with a chronic illness. I’ve been sick with an autoimmune disease since 2013. My window of work each day is now small. Fatigue and brain fog now bring challenges.

As Christians writers, we’re on mission for the Lord. We’ve been gifted to write, and we serve God with our words, delivering the message he has given us. However, when completing any mission, obstacles will threaten to derail us.

Sometimes we wonder why God would allow this. Why wouldn’t he keep struggles away, so we can devote our time and attention to serving him?

The Lord’s tactics are usually the opposite of what we expect.

Today I’m writing to encourage other writers who face large obstacles of any kind. One of the most encouraging passages in Scripture tells us:





Trials actually equip us for the task. They give us quality content to write. God allows those who serve him to suffer for these reasons:

So we can be comforted by God, learning experientially that he is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, the One who beckons us near to encourage us, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a.


We must know this in our bones. Why?

So that we can then encourage others in any trouble with the same strengthening and consolation that we’ve received from God. Through Christ our comfort overflows, 1:4b-5.


If you’re like me, God often uses your writing to encourage your readers. Therefore, this is a lesson we must learn, if we hope to uplift others. In trials, we learn that the more we suffer, the more Christ comforts us in abundant measure, 1:5.

Our written words are tools he then uses to come alongside others, encouraging them to endure, 1:6a. Thus, they share in this same comfort from God, 1:7. In this way, we’re distressed for the comfort and salvation of others—our readers.

More reasons God allows us to suffer:

Trials and God’s comfort in them produce character and patient endurance, 1:6b. This enables us to persevere, a necessary requirement for Christian writers.

Trials, hardships, and pressures are felt beyond our ability to endure, even to the point of despair, so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead, 1:8-9.


In our own strength, we can’t live the Christian life or fulfill our ministry of writing. Realizing that we can’t rely on ourselves, but only on God, must be learned experientially. Suffering is required. We are strengthened by learning to rely on the One who raises the dead. 
Our trials keep us ever mindful of our weaknesses, so that we set our hope on God, who has delivered us and will continue to deliver us, 1:10. And he does. And he will, even in our death.

In this same letter, Paul also wrote:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7, 10 NIV).

Any ability we have is from God. It isn’t us. It’s him. The life of Jesus has given us all we need to complete our mission. As we rely on him, we are able. These trials are for our good. Press on!

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).






Author Melinda V Inman, Author of: Refuge; Fallen; and No Longer Alone

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the Midwest. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her weekly at http://MelindaInman.com/blog/. To find her work and to be notified of future published novels, follow her at http://bit.ly/MelindasBooks/.

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22 comments:

  1. Thank you Melinda for sharing your story and your encouraging words. And especially highlighting Paul's words that every time I read I go deeper into letting God be my strength in all things.

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    1. They are rich words, aren’t they! You’re so right! Each time we settle in front of these words to once more meditate on these truths, they do go deeper and deeper still. We think it has something to do with us, but it’s all him, even in death. What a Savior!

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  2. Oh yes, this is the post that is vital to our understanding of why bad things happen to seemingly good people. I say "seemingly" because we all have fallen short of the glory of God, and if we're truly honest with ourselves, none of us deserve much from God. Yet He gives despite ourselves, and one of those things He gives is times of testing. Ouch. But this one sentence, in my opinion, nailed it: "Realizing that we can’t rely on ourselves, but only on God, must be learned experientially. Suffering is required. We are strengthened by learning to rely on the One who raises the dead." In Christ, there is Resurrection Power! It can be seen this side of heaven or the next, but it will be seen somehow and that is the anchor of hope we hold onto during seasons of trial. Thanks for an awesome and honest post. May God bless your health with His resurrection power. Amen.

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    1. I’m so glad that by the grace of God I embraced this truth on THIS side of eternity! Growing older and being sick have both fixed my mind evermore on just how important Jesus’ victory over death is. When we’re dead, his power to raise the dead is our only hope. We’ll be dead, unable to do a thing, just as Jesus entrusted himself to God. I think we often focus on what we can DO, sometimes (often?) relying on our own strength. When we’re dead, that is stripped away from us. We can do nothing. At that point, we can ONLY rely on HIS power to raise the dead. As a resurrected Savior, our God has the power!

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  3. Thanks for sharing these words to encourage those of us who write. It is a difficult calling and like you said, still face obstacles and challenges. But, we don’t give up because God never gives up on us. I pray for strength and peace for you to continue your calling too.

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    1. I pray the same for you, Yvonne! With your international ministry, you face many challenges. May the gracious Lord empower you in all you do!

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  4. What a perfect Scripture passage for us as writers! I'm sorry to hear of your autoimmune disease, but glad to see how you count it as helpful. I've been especially tired over the past several months and not always up to sitting in front of my keyboard, but God is faithful. I like that you referred to us as being gifted and delivering the words God gives us, and how you end this post referring back to that fact with 2 Corinthians 4. It is God who gives us the ability and the words, so He will get it on the page some way or another, despite of, and perhaps because of, our deficiencies.

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    1. I believe our deficiencies are an essential part of our work and God’s work in us. We learn the necessary faith lessons because of the stressors they cause. Thus, we know we need the Lord to be able to do the work, causing us to rely on him more. We know the production of our work is only possible through him, and thus we give him all the glory. And that’s the point of all our actions. Coming to that place is essential.

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  5. I do appreciate the reminder that God uses trials to equip us to serve Him and others. It’s hard in the midst of suffering to understand His purpose. That usually comes in hindsight as we see ways God used us to comfort others. So important to seek Him and praise His work while suffering too, to keep our minds on hope!

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    1. Sometimes we never know his purposes, but learning to walk in his ways and to trust him, whether or not we understand, are marks of real growth in our faith. That is a major reason for our trials.

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  6. Melinda, your posts always inspire, challenge and lift me. Thank you! Your honesty about your chronic illness hits home for me. Though I have other health problems, I too struggle with chronic pain which sometimes leaves me questioning and other times leaves me leaning harder into God. I treasure your scripture encouragement. I have to rely on God's Word as bigger than my thoughts or feelings or experiences. Otherwise, I would drown in my own cloud. Best of all, you clarify for me and others how God uses our pain, suffering and difficulties. We remember that He is God; we more easily remain in a humble position which allows Him to use us all the more; through these situations we can draw near to Him and we have personal experiences from which to reach out and help others. Wounded healers are the best healers. Praying for you as your finish your book and battle your health challenges. You are an inspiration! God bless you!

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    1. Melissa, thank you so much for your kind words. You’re always such an encouragement! I truly believe that one of the best things the Lord ever did was to allow/bring this sickness into my life. In my flesh, I tend to be self-reliant and proud, and this illness teaches me to rely on the Lord. He continually reminds me of my deep and abiding need for him. And I’m grateful. Like you said, “Wounded healers are the best healers.” My work is richer now, and my faith is stronger. These are essential lessons to learn, and if I can convey them to others it’s a gift from our kind and gracious Savior.

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  7. Melinda, your post is so very timely for me. I, too, have an autoimmune issue (RA) and I know very well the malaise and brain fog - today is one of those days. An otherwise ordinary, simple task of going to get groceries utterly wore me out.
    All that to say, you are a champion! Carry on! and thank you so very much for your encouraging words.

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    1. Robin, I had no idea that we were linked together, not only as writers and sisters in Christ, but also as autoimmune disease sufferers. I hear you. A trip to the grocery store wipes me out for the rest of the day. A trip to my doctor on Thursday gave me a two-day migraine and malaise that extends even into today. God uses all of this so powerfully in our lives. We MUST rely on him, not only to get through the day and to continue to be productive, but if you’re like me, also to simply BE NICE! I’m going to need God’s grace and power for that today! God bless you, sister!

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  8. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    In particular I am challenged by two phrases

    1. Our trials keep us ever mindful of our weaknesses which enable us to focus on and rely on God all the more.

    2. Our momentary troubles are aiding the development of character for an eternal purpose

    Wow. Thank you

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    1. I’m glad my words encouraged us. Whatever you’re going through, Jesus is with you. The Lord is near. And we NEED him in an essential way, like oxygen, lest we perish! Lean into him, and let him carry you.

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  9. Melinda, I've always loved this passage. And because the God of ALL comfort comforts us in our troubles, it helps us comfort others. That makes us comfort ambassadors for God! How great is that?! Love your emphasis on key words and phrases. The Lord recently showed me many "so that" instances in Scripture which really drives home the point He wants to make. Blessings and favor over your writing and comfort over your health.

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    1. Thank you for exercising your ministry as a “comfort ambassador”! I love that phrase! The “so thats” are so important! They help us to see the depths of the spiritual truth and richness that God has given us. There’s so much goodness to unpack in this one “little” passage! What a God of comfort!

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  10. "Therefore, we do not lose heart." Thank you for posting your struggles and the source of your encouragement. I come across so many believers that have bought into the lie that there should not be struggles in this life. Your post offers so much encouragement outlining that even in working in our calling and passion we will face tough time but we have the source to "not lose heart."

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    1. “In this world you will face tribulation,” Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33, “but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Jesus prepared his disciples and all who follow him to expect tribulation. We shouldn’t expect otherwise. You make an essential point. If we’re preoared for hardship, we press on. If not, we flounder. Jesus prepared us to face trials. Be of good cheer, he has overcome the world.

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  11. I am taking those 2 Corinthians verses now and printing them and sticking them in my writing space. So many days that I can only get that small window to write due to chronic illness, and I need this inspiration. Thank you!

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  12. Dear Melinda,

    I respect you for what you do, I think many with a chronic illness wouldn't be able to do what you're doing. You're a strong woman.

    I'm sure you're encouraging many writers with your presence in the Christian online community.

    With love,
    Edna Davidsen

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