07 February 2016

We receive comfort so we can give comfort.

“Blessed be the God and Father of 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.”
~2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NASB

Affliction is part of this fallen world, part & parcel.That's a fact. Nothing you can do to escape it. That's why Jesus is so vital, His work so beautiful, His atoning sacrifice so miraculous. He suffered so He would know how to comfort us.

The point of our suffering isn't necessarily (or only) to know Jesus better. It's a custom-made opportunity to receive the comfort that goes beyond words from our Lord. And the purpose of receiving that comfort isn't just to make us feel better (although that is a primary focus--our Lord's love for us was the primary motivating factor in His sacrifice: to rescue the ones He loves, to ease their sorrow and pain). Part of the purpose of receiving comfort from God is so we can then impart that comfort to others, in their distress.

The man, beaten and robbed and left for dead on the side of the road wasn't just saved physically by the Good Samaritan. He was given one of the most beautiful gifts a human being could receive: a deep and personal understanding of rescue. I'm pretty sure that man's life was not only changed forever, but the lives of those he knew, those he loved, those he interacted with. Once we truly receive comfort from the Lord, we can become continuous agents of comfort, ourselves, liberally dispensing the balm of Gilead everywhere we go, with every word, every hug, every smile, every little interaction.

Lord of all creation, how much joy I find in you this morning! I love to be filled with your comfort and love, just as the dawning sun gently fills my room. I praise you, Lord, for your comfort; the healing and love and peace and sweetness that you so liberally give to ALL those who approach you willing to receive. Father, open the hearts of the wounded to receive from you. Make a way in the desert for those who profess your name yet haven't tasted of your goodness, your kindness, your continuous comfort. You truly are a fountain of living water within those who are yours, springing up unto everlasting life. And that water is sweet, clear, and refreshes more deeply than any combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Thank you, Lord, for this day to spend in worship and service. Thank you for the breath I breathe, the people I love, and the endless opportunities to open wide the floodgates of my heart and allow your love to overflow through me. You are so, so good, Father. Thank you, and amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!