When troubles strike…


2 Cor. 1 3-4

 It was my first visit ever to the gynecologist. I never felt so awkward and uncomfortable. But nothing prepared me for the words I heard the doctor say to the nurse standing by the door taking notes.

“blah, blah, blah, a tumor, about 10 centimeters, blah, blah, blah, blah…..”

Woah! Hold on there! Did I hear that correctly?

But the doctor wasn’t speaking to me. I might as well have been a slab of beef he was inspecting before throwing on the grill.

Later in his office, he explained that, Yes I had a very large (“the size of a small cantaloupe”) tumor on my ovary. It was almost certainly benign, but would have to be taken out the old-fashioned way with a slice across my abdomen, hip to hip. Really, God?  

Through a series of events, misadventures, and clear leading by the Lord, I ended up switching doctors, hospitals, even cities (from NJ to NYC) just days before the surgery.  I clearly sensed God directly me every step of the way and was practically floating as I experienced His peace that passes understanding in a whole new way.  

While I was in the hospital for a week post-surgery, my new boyfriend (now my husband of 26 years) came to visit and shared a Scripture verse with me –

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”. 2 Cor. 1:3-4

It was nice of him to mention it, but frankly I didn’t identify with it at all. In my hubris, I thought I knew all the Scriptures that would apply to my situation, and that one just wasn’t one of them. Or so I thought.

After a six week recovery, I finally was able to go back to church. At the end of the service, I felt compelled to go sit in the front row. Sometimes the pastor would call leaders of the church forward to pray with people, but that morning he hadn’t. Yet I felt I must go up. So I did.

Sitting there with my eyes closed, I heard my name. As Pastor Mike was speaking with a distraught woman, his eyes glanced up and he was as startled to see me as I was that he was looking at me.

It turns out this woman was facing a surgery similar to the one I just had, and sadly her mother-in-law passed away from ovarian cancer only a week before. As we sat down together to pray, God made 2 Cor. 1:4 come to life. I was able to comfort her with the comfort I had received from Him.

In the years that followed, God would repeat this scenario over and over again. In different ways and circumstances, He would allow me to comfort others in their troubles because He had comforted me in mine. Sometimes it was health related, but often it was not. God used all sorts of difficult experiences to teach me, to comfort me, to grow me, and to then share with others traveling a similar road.

Too often, like me, in the midst of our pain and troubles, we are unable to see that someday God will use it to grow us and to minister to others. But there is nothing that allows us to connect with others better than to honestly and compassionately say, “I know what you’re going through.”

This week, one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with … you guessed it – an ovarian cyst. Please keep her in prayer as she navigates this difficult road. May I be able to comfort her with the comfort God has given me.

And – even if you can’t see it now – may you be able to comfort others with the comfort He will give you. 




ps – I’m the co-founder of Justice Network, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking and showing ways to make a difference from here. Our current initiative is a social media campaign using this Sunday’s Super Bowl as a way to raise awareness of the issue. We call it the #HTchallenge. We’re asking people to go to our website  [www.htchallenge.net] and share our images, quotes, and stats on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, your favorite social media using the hashtag #HTchallenge. All the information, talking points, etc. are on the website.

Part of the challenge is also to “donate” a tweet/post that will be published simultaneously with hundreds of others during the halftime show. To register:

1. Click here: http://bit.ly/1eFBIAI

2. Click the button for Twitter and/or Facebook

3. Click “add my support”


 Thank you for helping in this worthy cause!! 

6 thoughts on “When troubles strike…

    1. SusanSusan Panzica

      Heather, thank you for sharing! It’s so true that in the midst of the storm, we can’t see how it could ever be useful. Thankfully we have a God in whom we can trust to make beauty from ashes.

  1. Terri Tiffany

    Thank you this post. As a Christian I know this but hearing how God has used you helps because sometimes we think that our suffering really won’t do anyone else any good. So this story blessed me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *