5 March 2003

"…that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God"-2 Corinthians 1:4 Today, we find the apostle comforting the Church at Corinth with the same comfort he had received of God. To reach out and comfort a brother or sister in Christ is one of the greatest marks of Christianity. To comfort another, we must have empathy, even pity for those who are distressed. I remember a little girl falling on the ice one cold, winter morning as we waited for the school bus. She came from a very poor family and was sadly dressed for the winter temperatures. When she fell, some of the children around her laughed and pointed at the fallen victim. What she needed was comfort. Every born again believer has the ability to comfort others. In his listing of spiritual fruit, Paul mentions love, gentleness and goodness to be among the spiritual graces of the believer(Galatians 5:22). These graces are like muscles in our body. They lie dormant until used. When used, they grow into a tree, springing forth bearing fruit unto others around us! Paul mentions the fact that he would comfort others by the same comfort he had received of God. The best comforters are those who have trodden the low valleys themselves, those who have recovered from a deep dark pit in their own lives. They have been down themselves and well know the terrors of hopeless canyon, failure city and the pit of discouragement. To get others out, they know they must get in there with them and remind them of the God of all comfort and the value of Christian friendship. Many times, our pride will not allow us to admit that we have been down. Yet, the prophet has marked the Lord's people being "an afflicted and poor people" whose trust is in the Lord. The greatest comfort one may receive would be a visit from someone who has been through the same struggle and survived! What have you been through? Seek others who have been through the same and comfort them with the same comfort that got you through. Bring to them the comforts of God, His promises, His forgiveness, His faithfulness and His everlasting love for His people… ... .even when they fall! When we are busy getting others out, I am sure we are less likely to fall back in ourselves.