“Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 1.3-5
Once during Queen Victoria’s reign, she heard that the wife of a common laborer had lost her baby. Having experienced deep sorrow herself, she felt moved to express her sympathy. So she called on the bereaved woman one day and spent some time with her. After she left, the neighbors asked what the queen had said. “Nothing,” replied the grieving mother. “She simply put her hands on mine, and we silently wept together.” – source unknown
Sometimes the giving of comfort involves the simple act of just being with someone. No words of advice, no action to follow up on, just the simple act of being with someone and holding their hand during their time of grief. Especially if you have been in their place, you know what you would have wanted in being comforted.
The word “comfort” is mentioned six times by Paul in these few verses. The word itself means to be called alongside. The word pictures two objects paralleling each other with the weaker one leaning on the stronger one for support.
I have used the idea behind this word numerous times while cycling with friends. Some days you feel good while riding, but some days while climbing a hill you don’t seem to have the energy to make it up. I have on occasion come alongside a weaker rider and placed my hand on their back and using the strength in my own legs pushed them up the hill. Why do I do that? Because someone else has done that for me.
Probably every one of us has experienced afflictions in life. Paul promises that God will “comfort us in ALL our affliction” with the sole purpose “that we will be able to comfort those who are in ANY affliction.”
Where does the source of our comfort come from? From Christ and His sufferings and they “are ours in abundance.” They are excessive and abound more than we could ever imagine or think. This is the beauty of God’s grace and the church.
What is our role as comforters? To come alongside others and share in their suffering so that they may share in our comfort that comes from God (2 Cor. 1.7). A great book on this is Comfort the Grieving by Paul Tautges published by Zondervan.
Therefore, comfort one another in Christ.
Grace and Peace!
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