Comforted to Comfort (Daily Encouragement Series)
“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 may 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
Yesterday we looked at how we can prepare for suffering by Knowing God “the Father who is characterized by mercy” and “the God whose heart delights in giving comfort”. This is what we need but also what others need. At CrossPointe we talk often that we are “a conduit of God’s blessings, not a cul-de-sac” (Live Generously). This is true of the comfort we receive from God: as God comforts us, we can bring His comfort to others. We are comforted to bring comfort.
N.T. Wright fills out the meaning of the word comfort: The whole idea of the word is that one person is being with another, speaking words which change their mood and situation, giving them courage, new hope, new direction, new insights which will alter the way they face the next moment, the next day, the rest of their life.
While we can’t “be with” many physically right now, we can still speak words to console, strengthen, encourage others. We all need it.
We can start with those we can be around physically – our families (I know I’ve failed at this many times in the midst of the frustrations of this pandemic), co-workers for those still working, those we interact with for necessities, etc. We can be intentional about bringing comfort from a distance through phone calls, social media, FaceTime, text messages, even good old fashioned letters.
Here are a few ways we can “comfort” others from a distance (from the longer list of “19 simple ways to love your neighbor right now” which I highly commend.)
Tend to a teen: If you’re a grandparent, try FaceTiming your grandchildren, or if you’re a parent, sit down with your teens at home to help them cope with coronavirus-related anxiety.
Keep your small group going, virtually: Use Google Hangouts or Zoom to keep meeting with your small group on a regular basis. Now, more than ever, is the time to stay in touch and pray with the ones you do life with.
Write a letter: Grab some stationary, and write letters to neighbors, loved ones, senior homes, hospitals, and police officers. A note of encouragement can ease loneliness and worry.
Don’t complain: Refrain from complaining about the things we have to give up in this season while people in the world suffer. This is our moment to be the voice of faith, hope, and love – especially on social media.
Speak faith: In the face of panic, Christians have the unique opportunity to speak peace. Email a verse, or call a neighbor to ask if you can pray for them. God’s Word will not return void.
And pray! Pray alone, with your family, and in online corporate group prayers. Pray especially for janitors, doctors, nurses, chaplains, first responders, drivers, laborers, moms, and teachers.
During this time, we need to continually draw near to God for his comfort AND draw near to others to bring His comfort to them. Be comforted to comfort.