“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction…”
2 Corinthians 1:3
I was struck today (not for the first time) by the comfort so tenderly offered by our God.
Offering comfort is one of the chief purposes of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15ff).
And oh, how we need it, don’t we?
As some of you have reminded me recently, there’s nothing more blissful than climbing into the arms of my Abba and telling Him all of my struggles.
And even when my circumstances don’t change,
I still leave that place feeling better.
I’ve been comforted.
God speaking through Paul in the verse above informs us that He comforts us in all our affliction.
Yes, all of it.
I don’t know about you, but it warms my heart to know that the Supreme Creator and Ruler of the universe cares enough about me to alleviate my feelings of distress.
That’s just the type of Father He is.
But have you ever wondered…
Here’s the rest of the story:
“…so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction,
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
Yes, God cares about our affliction and so He reaches down tenderly to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. But that’s not all…
After we climb down from His lap of comfort, He pats our rumps and sends us off to find someone else in need of comfort.
There’s something special about shared experiences, isn’t there?
I feel an immediate kinship with other writers…
other C-section survivors…
other foster parents…
When we know someone has a story that parallels our own in some way, we don’t have to work as hard to identify with them. Common ground provides a foundation for our relationship.
Since my husband’s job loss last year, I’m especially sensitive to others who are experiencing unemployment. Their trial touches my heart on a deeper level.
The same is true for those who have just received a cancer diagnosis…
My perspective transcends sympathy – feeling for another’s hardship –
soaring to empathy – understanding their affliction.
And that understanding can make all the difference.
Understanding affects my prayers.
It affects my words.
It affects my actions.
It affects my demeanor.
And it affects the way I’m received by the other person, when she becomes aware that I’ve been where she is.
Have you received comfort from our God?
If you belong to Him, I’ve no doubt the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Have you since moved on in life without a care in the world, acting as though your affliction never happened in the first place?
Or are you alert to others God brings across your path? World-weary brothers and sisters who need to receive the comfort you in particular can offer like no other?
Receiving comfort isn’t just for our own sake; it’s a sacred trust God expects us to pass along to others. What can you do today to be a good steward of the trial you’ve endured, and of the comfort you’ve received?
Dear sister, “freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Written by Jennifer Clarke