Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Let Us Sing Of A Wonderful Love"1 (Lyrics)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (NLT)
Many years ago, a young girl in my grade one class stood out from the other students in a few ways. To begin with, her speech was hard to understand, and her actions belied her actual age. She often had tantrums, and would sometimes run out of the classroom, screaming. She was not able to keep up with the other children, who finished their work easily and quickly. Today, she might be said to have "special needs". Her parents were shocked when I told them that she was being uncooperative in the classroom, and they complained about me to other parents, and even to the teacher whose room was nearby. "Is my child really as disruptive as Mrs. B. says?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, sometimes, she's off the wall!" replied my loyal co-worker. The whole situation was troubling. Another parent decided to sit in for the morning while I taught, and she saw for herself the theatrics that went on. "You're doing a great job!" she said to me later. Her encouragement and support comforted me, and I was able to weather the rest of the school year.
The word "comfort" has several meanings, such as consolation, encouragement, support, or strengthening aid. It's like what the mother of another one of my grade one students offered when she came to the school to soothe her child who was hysterical at the thought of getting a routine injection.
In the original Greek of the New Testament, the word "comfort" in today's passage is paraklesis, close to the Greek word parakletos, which Jesus named the Holy Spirit, variously translated as Comforter, Strengthener, Standby, Helper, or Advocate.
The parent who encouraged me was a believer; her source of comfort was God the Father Himself. As God's messenger, she passed along to me the same encouragement that was given to her, since I was unable to appropriate it in the heat of the moment.
Since then, I've pondered the responsibility of being an encourager to those around me. The situation in that particular classroom is one of the life experiences that has prepared me to see the various ways that I can serve others. God has comforted me many times, pouring encouragement into my life either directly or through others. In a world that needs encouragement, will you join me in passing on this same comfort, encouragement, and support to others who are troubled?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for being the source of all comfort. Help us, in turn, to pass on to those around us the comfort and encouragement that You give us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.