"[The God of All Comfort] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who 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
I was thinking about this verse this morning, and I thought about my kids. You know, the longer we have the opportunity to be parents, the more I see that having children and being parents is a great way to get to understand more about God and who He Is. When one of my children gets hurt, whatever I am doing gets dropped instantly so that I can give attention to the hurt. Sometimes it's a physical hurt- a bump,bruise or cut. Sometimes it's a spiritual hurt- hurt feelings because a name was called or a turn skipped. But no matter what the hurt is, or what causes it, my first reaction is to provide comfort.
My job at that moment, my number one job when a child needs it is to provide comfort. I do that with my kids by providing myself. We snuggle, give hugs, maybe a few kisses, a rub of the hand to reassure them. Only after I've provided adequate comfort do we tend to the need at hand. We bandage up a cut or pull out a sliver. We try and provide a resolution to a conflict. But the first step is always the comfort.
I looked up the word comfort in the dictionary, where I found two definitions. The first one says "to give strength and hope to" and the second definition is "to ease the grief or trouble of". As a parent I do both of those for my children the second the need arises.
How much more does God do for His children? He loves us so much- He is the ultimate comforter. It says in our verse today that He comforts us in ALL our troubles. And just as with our children- sometimes those troubles may have been brought upon ourselves, but at the same time, that doesn't lessen my comfort when the need arises. I don't give less hugs because Zander chose to do something I told him not to. I still love him and do what I can as a parent to ease the pain and to help him to feel better.
But do you know what is even cooler? Seeing my children give comfort because they've received comfort when they needed it. A few summers back I had the opportunity to put both kids in a tumbling class. It was the only time their ages were just so that I could do it, so the very first week I sent a very excited Abigail and a very nervous Zander in to tumble. It didn't take long before the tears started flowing. Zander was just too nervous, and he was having a hard time doing everything they were asking of him. And do you know what Abigail did? She put her arms around him and comforted him, just as if I was there. She rubbed his arms and soothed his cries with kind words, and she dropped what she was doing to see to his needs. She took on the role of comforter before she was even seven years old.
Which leads me to a lot of what this verse is saying. What if, as we go through our trials and our times in life where we really lean on the Lord and His comfort...what if those times are meant for us, simply as a training tool? What if we go through those times so that later on, we can share what we've gone through with others and help them to learn from our errors and mistakes. When we've gone through a rough patch, where the comfort of God is what sustained us, we remember that, and people see that. Sometimes how we respond in a situation may be the entire reason for the situation in the first place.
I do know this. Nothing we go through is gone through in vain. God always has a purpose. The longer I blog here, the more I see that, because it seems like I come up with these stories from my past that I didn't really remember before. But then I look back, I see how a situation applies to something I'm reading in my Bible, so I share that. We go through times where we require comfort so that when the times come up, we can pass on that comfort. And I imagine that goes for a lot of things we go through in life.
Praise God for his constant provision! Not only does he provide and take care for our physical needs, but He plans ahead to take care of our spiritual needs as well. He is the God of compassion, and He has compassion for ALL His children- not just some of them. Thank God for that.
"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15