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.
I long ago lost count of how many times I’ve used this passage in talking to people about what they were going through. As Jesus said, in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) Since that is a given, this passage gives meaning to that. In a sense, we don’t suffer for ourselves alone, but in order to prepare us to help others in their suffering. It’s somewhat like military boot camp, where you are put through all sorts of stuff to prepare you for potential future situations, except that the preparation isn’t just for ourselves, but for those to whom we will minister. Some will protest that they didn’t “sign up” for that sort of thing. The fact of the matter is, none of us signed up for anything! We are all created beings, living in a world tainted by the sins of mankind. Blessings abound, but so do pitfalls and hardships. If we focus on the negatives we will be miserable, regardless of how many blessings we also experience. We see that all the time, with people in what would have been unimaginably luxurious surroundings just a few generations ago complaining loudly, while others smile and praise God in the middle of trials. The Finnish government official who is currently facing a 10 year prison sentence simply for quoting the Bible on sexuality comes to mind. In every picture I’ve seen of her she has a beautiful smile, and her lawyer said in a recent interview that that is entirely typical of her. She is obviously experiencing the comfort of the Holy Spirit in her trials, and her response transmits that comfort to every believer who sees her. God’s blessings are never for us alone, but are to flow through us to others as well.
As I said, I have expressed this truth to others countless times, but the question remains of how well I am walking in it myself. As I am learning through the study of Coaching, transmitting truth isn’t just a matter of lectures. Cold truth delivered from a pulpit isn’t likely to be very comforting! I’ve got to keep growing in coming alongside people and assuring them of my presence, my empathy, and my love. I’ve not been very good at that in the past! Ask me a question and you’re likely to get more facts spewed at you than you can absorb, but that is too often counterproductive. I’m to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me in whatever way is needed at the time, speaking words of comfort or even being silent as called for, in addition to giving instruction and correction when appropriate. I have been hugely blessed, and I am to be an agent of blessing to others.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the ministry opportunity that is coming up today. Help me be emotionally and mentally prepared, transmitting comfort and encouragement as called for, so that the person may be strengthened and grow as You desire and intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!