“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2
As Maria and Lucas were wading through the debris of this horrible storm in their life, they were faced with a decision. To think only of themselves, or to help others who were suffering in their own storm. At times like these it is easy to look inward, to look at what is happening in our lives. But it is these times when we should be comforting others. Maria and Lucas chose to help others.
Many of us have had times in our lives when everything seems to be going well, everything seems to be so “right”, only to experience a catastrophic event that turned your whole world upside down. An event that left us floundering and wondering if life would ever make sense again.
The Bible makes it clear that we will have trouble. Sometimes we bring suffering on ourselves, sometimes others inflict it on us, and sometimes difficulties arise based on circumstances of life. However, in the midst of the affliction, trouble, or suffering – whether it’s emotional, financial, relational, or circumstantial – we will need comfort.
God is our ultimate comforter. While some trouble is unavoidable, there is no hardship for which God cannot and will not supply adequate comfort. And, as we experience His comfort in a tangible way, we are instructed to comfort one another,
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 says: “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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”
These are powerful verses. Verse 4 tells us that every pain in life can find meaning when we comfort others. We are called to give out of what we have been given. In other words we should give out of the love, the mercy, the grace, the forgiveness, the blessings, the finances and the comfort we have already been given. Verse 7 reminds us to help others with all you have, including pain.
Christ’s comfort: it’s always greater than our trouble. It is more than our suffering. Christ comforts, present tense, in that trouble. Christ is comforting, right now, in that trouble. Christ comforts, continually, in that trouble. Christ, the source of comfort, has shared his comfort for you, so you can share it with others. Christ does not want us keeping comfort to ourselves. God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
Salvation is no guarantee of a storm free life. In fact, we are assured that following Christ will be far from a wrinkle free life. However, we can be certain that God does not recklessly subject us to suffering. God always has a purpose because without suffering we could neither know the fullness of God’s grace; learn to trust Him implicitly; or minister to others as God desires.
We can learn from the example of Maria and Lucas and comfort others even when we need comfort.
- Describe a time when your life was hit with an unexpected storm. How well did you endure it? What did you do when you felt like giving up? Did you experience God’s comfort during that period?
- What does “comfort” mean to you? What comfort do you need? What comfort have you received? What can you do to pass on the comfort of God to others?
- What helped Maria and Lucas make the right decision to help others? How can you change your thinking to let those factors move you to comfort others?
- Look around to see if there is someone in your life who is going through a storm in their life, and make a list of actions you can take to be a source of help, encouragement and strength. Then do those things this week.