“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).
We discussed how God teaches us through suffering, and one of the by-products of suffering is that it teaches us to sympathize with others faced with severe affliction. In today’s world, we hurry around trying to keep up with everything, avoiding any disruptions that throw us off schedule. But God gives us gifts and encouragement so that we can encourage others. When we pass through trying times, God takes us by the hand and teaches us many lessons. God also blesses us by sending others who have passed through similar experiences to help and comfort us. As God has helped us through others, so we need to come to the aid of people in need. We need to encourage those in need. Paul highlights this in his letter to the Thessalonians:
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
How can we comfort others?
1. Be there for them.
Sometimes people just need an ear. They don’t always need or are prepared to take advice; they just need a friend who listens. When people face affliction, we often feel awkward and unsure how to communicate with them. But afflicted people will appreciate your friendly gestures and usually welcome your help. Job’s friends made the mistake of not only handing out advice, but they gave him bad advice.
2. Pray for them.
We all can and should pray. Even as we reach out to them, we need to remember them before the Lord. Pray for God’s intervention, for His comfort, and for the wisdom to proceed.
3. Help them.
We cannot solve every problem, but we can probably help in some way. Maybe we can pick up the slack in some area while they tend to their problems. While we should not preach to them, we can offer helpful solutions or ways to cope. Ask God for wisdom to help others in their affliction.
Let’s be thankful for God’s marvelous comfort that He generously pours out to us when we face severe testing. But let’s not keep it to ourselves. Each day we face a hurting world in need of a friendly face and listening ear. May God use us to touch others with His comfort.
Posted on Wed, August 3, 2016
by Sam Petitfils