Reposted from Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth
I recently met with a person who was having a hard time dealing with the pain and challenge of having a grown child with mental illness. As I listened to her I understood a lot of what she was feeling and struggling with because of my own experience as a parent of a child with mental illness. When it was all said and done, she left feeling much better: that she was understood, not alone, not a bad parent, and that she had done well, and that the questions and struggles she had were normal. After she left my office I was reminded of this passage,
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 receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7, NIV).
Few things are so sweet as experiencing God ministering to us in our adversities, troubles, and afflictions by bringing us His compassion and comfort. How many times have I experienced God’s compassion and comfort through prayer, or Scripture, or a thought from a book, or from a kind word or touch on the shoulder from a friend? It is a wonderful grace however He chooses to give it.
What I have been learning is that God’s comfort, while certainly given for our benefit, is not meant to be private but meant to be given to others. Just as God’s love to us creates a wellspring in our soul that brings that love to flow back to God and out to others, God’s comfort and compassion finds its ultimate fulfillment when it flows out to others. That is the meaning of verse 4, God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. A thought to ponder today…