“He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 (Common English Bible)
Captured in these words is one of the great secrets of life; if we are to help others effectively we must recall how God has helped us. Forgetfulness in the one direction breeds selfishness in the other. It is a keen sense of God’s mercy and comfort in our own lives that fills our hearts with the desire to share that same mercy and comfort to others. Through memory our own mercy and comfort is endowed with wise and intelligent sight.
This truth suggests that where mercy and comfort is lacking in the heart there remains soul work to do. Selfishness – and lack of mercy – is often the manifestation of someone wounded by selfishness and uncaring behavior. Emotional defenses are built, the result being that the broad stream of comfort and expression of concern neither flow into or out of the heart. What is required is fresh attention to God; attention to the promises of God in scripture and prayer that the eyes of the heart may once again discern the active presence and work of God in the present. Remembering what the Lord has done for us teaches us what we ought to do for others. More, clarity of memory results in the compulsion to participate in God’s ministry of grace.
How will you participate in this great avalanche of comfort and mercy today? What attitudes will you change or action will you take or prayer will you pray this week as you seek to love God and neighbor more deeply? Who do you know that needs your words of comfort or demonstration of caring concern? The apostle Paul, the author of these words, asks that you first remember what God has done for you. It is then that God’s comfort and care will be multiplied by your response.