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“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) 

Over the last couple of months, I’ve retreated away from checking the weather app on my phone, certain that each glance will only cause greater distress.  So I was pleasantly surprised this past week to discover—on a few mornings—that the clouds weren’t a permanent fixture in the sky and that January could yet produce some sunshine.  

Desiring to take advantage of this, I went for a walk to soak in some Vitamin D, and I found myself wondering what I might write for this next devotional.  

It’s a fascinating enterprise—writing devotionals.  A significant part of the enjoyment in writing is that I find myself looking for anecdotes or images or experiences that inspire my spirit and evoke me to share about it.  

The same can be true for preaching, bible studies, community groups, etc.  We have a space in which to share moments where God met with us or spoke to us—though creation, another person, an article, Scripture, whatever it may be.  And because we have the space to do so, we find ourselves more-often looking for it, looking for something that we can share with others.  We want to offer something by way of inspiration or comfort.  

It reminded me of these verses in 2 Corinthians where Paul urges the suffering Christians to see their trials as a means of comfort.  Our God is a God of comfort, and just as He comforts us in our troubles, so we too can be a comfort to others when they are experiencing hardship.  

There’s a deeply communal aspect, then, to enduring hardships.  At no point should we ever see suffering or pain as a personal experience or journey that we travel on our own.  Paul very explicitly highlights suffering as a means by which we draw closer to both the God of all comfort and to others who are also in need of comforting.  

Yet how often do we behave as if our troubles are just our own?  As if they are experiences that we need to ‘get over’ or ‘get past’ in order to not be a burden on others?  How often do we fail to comfort others because we haven’t actually grasped our own need to be comforted?  

Paul makes it pretty clear in this passage that God comforts us so that we can then comfort others.  We are tasked with mirroring God in His comfort.  Like a prism, we receive His comfort and then disperse that comfort out to others.

But in order to do so, we must be attentive to our own reception of comfort.  Are we looking for God’s compassion and kindness in our own lives?  I can proclaim all I want that God has offered peace and comfort to me; but have I received it?  Do I give Him room in my day to breathe His live-giving Spirit back into my soul and inspire me?  

I want to encourage you to find a moment in your day to be inspired by the comfort, compassion, and kindness of God.  Listen to a song, read a Scripture passage on your lunch break, or take a brief walk outside.  And then ask yourself, “How might I offer God's comfort to someone else?”   

In other words, if you were the one writing a devotional, what would you be inclined to write?  What would you want to say?

And then listen for the Spirit’s nudging.  Don’t hesitate to send a text message or make a phone call if someone comes to mind.  Don’t fear being awkward or coming off emotional.  

Perhaps they’re in need of some holy comfort.  

Father in Heaven, I pray that Your presence would infiltrate my day and that Your Spirit would inspire me to receive anew Your compassion and comfort.  Help me to be mindful of Your voice, and to reach out to others with the comfort that You have shown to me.  In the powerful Name of Your Son, amen.  


Unsure, when what was bright turns dark
and life, it seems, has lost its way,
we question what we once believed
and fear that doubt has come to stay.
We sense the worm that gnaws within
has withered willpower, weakened bones,
and wonder whether all that’s left
is stumbling blocks or stepping stones…. 
Ah God, You with the Maker’s eye,
can tell if all that’s feared is real,
and see if life is more than what
we suffer, dread, despise and feel.
If some by faith no longer stand
nor hear the truth Your voice intones,
stretch out Your hand to help Your folk
from stumbling blocks to stepping stones.

- Celtic Song