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.
This is is a central part of God’s economy that I mention to others often. God’s provision is abundant, but it is rarely if ever just for the immediate recipient. It’s not that the immediate recipient isn’t blessed. Far from it. However, those blessings are to be passed on to others, like the ever-expanding ring of ripples when a stone is dropped into still water. In the physical world, entropy and gravity soon still the ripples, but in God’s economy, sometimes later ripples seem even bigger than the first! That’s because the true source isn’t the triggering event, but rather God Himself, and He can “add energy,” so to speak, at any point along the line. As an excellent example, by Paul writing the letters that are included in the New Testament, the things that God did for him have been multiplied in countless believers down through the centuries. We need to recognize God’s grace toward us with full gratitude, and at the same time be open to however He might want to express that grace through us to others. The specific example Paul mentions here is comfort. This isn’t as in “being comfortable,” physically or otherwise, as our modern, luxurious society would have us think. Rather, it is in recovering from all the junk the world and the devil throw at us. As Jesus told us explicitly, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) When we’ve been hit with some of that stuff, we need to be comforted. However, God’s supply of comfort is unlimited, and He often uses people to spread it around. We need to recognize that and volunteer to be a “spreader,” and not just a receiver.
This is something I think I recognized very early on. As someone with Teacher gifting I’m rather prone to give lectures, but those are rarely comforting! I need to keep learning how to come alongside those who are hurting and simply be there for them, expressing God’s love and grace through simple presence far more than words. Just as God has encouraged me many times through many people, I need to let Him do the same through me, even though that isn’t my primary gifting. He has gifted me with words, so I need to be faithful to use words not just to convey information but, more importantly, to convey God’s gracious love and comfort to all who need it – and that includes everyone! Frankly, my words aren’t always comforting. There are times when love needs to be firm, but quite apart from that, at times my words are needlessly hurtful, causing a need for comfort rather than supplying comfort. I need to keep growing, allowing the Holy Spirit to mold me into the image of Christ my Lord, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this clear reminder. It seems my words, or my expression of them, were hurtful a few times even just yesterday. Help me gain Your sensitivity, recognizing what is needed when, and allowing You to supply it through me, for the blessing of all around me and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!