COMFORT 2 COMFORT
‘The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials..so that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort that God has given us’ (1 Corinthians 1:3-4) [the living bible]
I have been looking at how God comforts us in our troubles and then allows us to be comforters. You may think, ‘well if God comforts me, then why doesn’t He comfort the next person! Why use me instead?’ I guess God just loves to delegate responsibility, and smiles as He sees us being like Him on a smaller scale! I guess that’s what it was like in the garden after God created everything His first act was to give Adam a job and made him head gardener! Adam became a mini creator! That must’ve warmed Gods heart?
When I worked full time in a church I used to visit a couple that both suffered from depression. The one was hereditary the other from an accident. I used to sit and listen to them talk about what they were going through and comment occasionally, share a few scriptures and then pray for them; but to be absolutely honest [and I was with them about it], I sympathized with them but didn’t have a clue what they were going through! It was totally alien to me! Honestly, I’d had down days, the blues and even bad hair days, but being stuck in a dark pit day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year; not wanting to go out or do anything at all was totally unheard of in my vocabulary! I honestly didn’t have a clue what they were talking about or how they felt? They could’ve been from another planet for all I knew! I wanted to feel for them, but I had never felt or been through what they were going through! Life was fun, full and fabulous for me.
Then less than two years later my whole world fell apart. I had to leave full-time ministry and go back to my old job, relationships fell apart, money was tight, and I was suddenly in a dark and dreary pit. Suddenly I knew what it felt like for this couple. I used to struggle to work, eyes red from crying and just look at the slabs to be laid and think ‘what do I do with these?’ What’s going to happen to me now? Will I ever feel happy again? Will I have to stay on anti-depressants all my life? I cried out to God as David did in psalm 40. I used to try and claw my way up and out of the slimy dark hole I was in and just as I saw a glimmer of light, I would slip back down. But just over a year later, I started to come out, [or really, God started to lift me out] psalm 40:2.
Now, I not only know how it feels, but can share my experience with those going through it themselves and hopefully bring them some comfort! O.k. did God put me through what I went through so I could comfort others? Would He really do that? I’ll look at that the next time.
Give me for joy, O Christ, the drying of another’s tears. Give me for light, the sunshine of healing their sorrows. Give me for shelter, the shadow of your cross and for my heart’s content, the glory of your presence. Amen
G A Studdert Kennedy ( 1883-1929 )