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The God of All Comfort



One of the great blessings of being a Christian is the comfort we receive from God when our hearts are feeling the crushing blows of life. In my quiet time, God spoke to me from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Consider what Paul wrote: "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 have received from God."


In my mind's eye, when I read that I pictured believers going through hard times and experiencing the comfort that comes from God through His Spirit. I pictured some of you who are perplexed, downtrodden, discouraged, knocked down, and in agony; and then I envisioned you turning to God and He comforted you as He alone can do.


But what's the purpose of God's comfort? Is it just so we can feel better? Is it an experience we should strive for just to hoard? No! Look again at what Paul wrote: "so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."


We do feel better when God comforts us, but it's not our comfort that is His chief concern. We are to use the comfort we receive from God to reach out and comfort others who are hurting. It's a trust. God wants to reach out through us to touch others.


While walking home from school, Mark noticed the boy ahead of him had stumbled to the ground and dropped everything he was carrying. Mark hurried to the boy's side and helped him collect his belongings. Surprisingly, the boy was carrying an especially hefty load. There was a baseball glove and bat, a couple of sweaters, a small tape recorder, and an armful of books. Mark helped him carry the things home and his new friend, Bill, was most appreciative of his compassion. During the walk home, Mark discovered Bill was struggling in school and had just lost his best friend. When they arrived at Bill's house, he invited Mark in for a Coke and they spent the rest of the afternoon talking, laughing, and watching TV. Although the two boys never became real close friends, they kept up with each other throughout the rest of junior high and high school.


Several weeks before graduation, Bill approached Mark and asked him if he remembered that day they met when Mark helped him with all of his stuff. Mark nodded as he remembered. Bill then asked, "Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things that day?" Without pausing for an answer, Bill explained he had cleaned out his locker and was going home to take his life. He had been storing away sleeping pills and was headed home to end it all when Mark happened along to help him out. Bill told Mark how that simple act of compassion inspired him to go on living. He said, "Mark, when you picked up my books that day, you saved my life!" Imagine how many times our small, seemingly insignificant gestures of concern and comfort may reignite the flame of life and inspire someone to continue on. Thankfully, taking time to comfort others has a way of doing that.1


As I look around today, I see many who are in great need of comfort. The comfort God has given you is not to be amassed, collected, and stockpiled; it is to be shared on a personal level, one-on-one, your life or family touching theirs. Take time to reach out to those who are hurting; there are many.


Oh, and by the way, Bill wasn't the only one whose hardships left him feeling the sentence of death. Just three verses later, Paul wrote: "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death."


Ask the God of all comfort where He needs you to go today. Tell Him you are available to comfort the downtrodden. Pray that you will be used to meet someone's needs today...and be sensitive to the Spirit as He leads.


1 Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen, 1993, p. 35.


Copyright 2011. Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.




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