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
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
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.