Are you hurting and in need of comfort? Good! . . . because the Lord is doing something special in that place.
This past Sunday, Patrick and I got to share our story with the members of Faith Lutheran Church in Faith, NC. As I watched the members of that sweet congregation respond to our message, I realized once again, this is not all about us!
God was moving. He was doing something through our words.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV, says, “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 receive from God.”
Whatever we are experiencing, God wants to do three things:
God wants to comfort us
It says, God “comforts us in all our troubles.” He is “the God of all comfort.” In the Bible, that word comfort means to “console, encourage, refresh, instruct, give peace, and advise.” The Lord provides all of these things. Every difficulty represents an opportunity to draw near to Him, where we can find all these gifts in abundance. We come to know Him better and love Him more when we do.
For the past 22 years, while living with Patrick’s autism, Patrick and I have been comforted over and over by the God of all comfort. His arms have been wide open to receive us the entire time . . . and they still are today. We know and can speak about the deep comfort He provides.
God wants to use us to comfort others
After we have that deepening experience with the Lord, we are equipped by experience to comfort others. When we share our story, those listening can receive it because they know we have lived it. God receives the pain we lay on His altar, and He gives us the gift of compassion in return . . . our hearts are moved toward others who suffer because we have suffered ourselves. The Lord empowers us through our trials to love as He loves.
On Sunday, Patrick and I shared about the many gifts of hope the Lord has given us through living with Patrick’s autism. We watched the members of the congregation shed tears and receive comfort from our message. The Spirit moved to comfort others through our message. We saw the scriptures come to life before our eyes: “if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:6, NIV). The Lord did that, and it was beautiful.
God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NIV).
God wants to make Himself known
Through our experiences, we have the opportunity to know the Lord on a deeper, more intimate level . . . and then to share what we have learned about Him with others. That’s what Patrick and I got to do on Sunday. We were able to share about how we got to know the God of hope through our journey, and the Holy Spirit used our words to reveal more about Him to the members of Faith Lutheran Church.
We all have a story to share, and the Lord is the main character in each of our stories. Our lives are meant to display Him to the world, like a candle in the darkness, drawing others to the light of His comfort and love. By His power and grace, the Lord can make Himself known through us.
Patrick and I never could have imagined in the early days of his diagnosis that we would have the opportunity many years later to tell others about the God of all comfort. Yet, that is what has happened. We are witnessing the truth of how He works everything together for good (Romans 8:28) . . . for us, for others, and for His glory.
Now that’s something worth talking about!
Question: How do you need to be comforted? Comment at the link below, and we will pray for you! Would you run to the God of all comfort today, knowing you might have a story to tell tomorrow?
Susan Jane King