Comforting; October 6, 2018

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 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.

It is fascinating that the Lord arranged that this passage would come up right after we had a seminar last night on Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). The speaker was talking about being an “expert companion” for someone who has experienced trauma, not directing but coming alongside and loving, and that’s exactly what this is talking about. God never does anything capriciously, and sometimes what He allows us to experience, knowing that we will get through it, is for the sake of the next person down the line, so that we can help them get through what they experience. This all ties in to one of my favorite Scriptures: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The fallen world we live in is filled with trouble of all sorts, but when we are grounded in Christ, the outcome is never in doubt.

That is fairly easy to say, and I have said it more times than perhaps I should have, because someone in the middle of suffering or trauma doesn’t need things that sound like platitudes, no matter how true they might be. Last night Cathy shared the story of how having experienced a miscarriage allowed her to comfort a friend who lost a child soon after birth. She said that basically all they did was cry together, but that was precisely what the friend needed. The speaker said that was exactly what he was talking about! I personally don’t feel I have experienced much trauma, but I have had plenty of what I would include in the “trouble” Jesus mentioned. I’ve got to remember that I am as much in need of the grace and mercy of the Lord as anyone else, approaching people on a totally equal basis. I’m never to talk down to anyone, but rather demonstrate the love of God to them in ways that they can receive it, as the Spirit guides me. As a counselor I tend to be directive, which is seldom good. There are many times when I need to communicate truth, but the other person may or may not be able to receive that truth in the way and at the time I am trying to communicate it. I’ve got to be fully submitted to the Holy Spirit to let Him direct me in when and what to say, and when and what to do to express God’s truth in other ways than words.

Father, I am such a person of words that this is hard for me to follow through on. I ask You to keep growing me so that I will be silent when I should be, speaking only as You direct, so that Your comfort may indeed be transmitted through me, for the blessing of others and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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