“…the God of all comfort…
comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves
have received from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
A remarkable conference was a few years ago. It was a gathering of physically challenged children and their families. Their weekend was sponsored by a national non-profit organization. During the conference the interaction between the parents and the children was as beneficial as the actual sessions that the conference provided. Ideas on how to cope with specific issues were shared and much practical information was taken in by less experienced families. Most attendees went home very grateful for the sharing of coping skills and with new information on how to best help their child on their journey in life.
The same principle that worked so effectively at the conference is just the idea that Paul speaks about in our passage today. It is clear that the Lord wishes us to recall how He helped us through our tough times and expects us to take that information to others in a similar situation and share it with them.
We are not to receive grace from God to handle our problems and then not share our history with God to others. We are to speak up and tell how God worked in our lives and caused us to make it through the problem or else how He enabled us to live with it.
You might start with saying to the person something like, “I am not certain how God will help you deal with your issues but may I tell you how He helped me with mine?” That is a good opener. Then, if the person is willing to let you speak about your own journey, you can speak about the Bible verses that especially helped, or the person who did so much for you and so on.
When you look around you will find many organized groups who offer help for various difficulties in life. Their members are usually people who have suffered a common problem such as bereavement, debilitating illness, a family member who is into substance abuse, and so on. Comfort is derived in these groups by simply hearing the successful story of another, or listening as someone who is struggling gets help from someone else in the group.
Who do you know who would benefit from your story with suffering? Is there someone who trusts you that you might approach to ask them if you might tell your story and how God comforted you? Think about it and then make that all important call to share your comfort today.
On the other hand, if you need help, contact someone who has, or is, making a journey like yours and seems to be coping fairly well. Ask them how God comforts them. Remember, turnabout is fair play.