“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.”
Father, over and over I have seen this play out. I have seen someone in an ICU give, then receive, and then give back comfort as the circumstances changed. We can experience such pain, and yet You know the comfort we need and You place people right there with us.
Sometimes it happens immediately. Sometimes, it may be years before I come across someone who is hurting over something I’ve experienced myself. You remind me of how You helped me through it, and I can help them. Or vice versa. Those past hurts help us reach out and genuinely connect with other people. It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes those places of pain provide a more significant connection than any other experience we have in common.
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
There are times when there seems to be no place else to turn, and I think all is lost. And I forget to turn to You – the One who has the real power to help me. When I hear of someone in dire circumstances, I often pray that they will turn to You, Lord. That You would not let the hardship and pain be wasted, but that it would bring them into closer relationship with You. Partly because I believe there is joy in that relationship no matter what happens. But also because You are the One with the power to help them!
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.”
You have delivered me in the past. And that in itself gives me hope! “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name!”
Singing that song, for years I didn’t know what a “sweetest frame” was. It is anything else I might choose to lean on or rely on: another person, a pastor, a president, a doctor, my rights, what seemed fair to me. Everything will collapse under me, except You!
“Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
It does not take “many” to pray to be heard and answered by You. You have answered prayers I have uttered only in my spirit, when alone. But when many pray together, then there are many to praise You, and to thank You for Your answer and good news. It reinstates the hope of many. And builds and strengthens their faith.
Thank You that You are the God of all comfort. Amen!