So that...

Over the past fews months, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 has become one of my favorite passages of scripture:

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.

Do you believe that?  Have you lived it?   I have witnessed this reality of scripture played out over and over in the lives of many, as well as my own.  There is a comfort... an encouragement, that comes only with the experience as we look to God for our comfort.

Twenty-five years ago Frank and I experienced the loss of our baby at just 20 weeks.  It was tragic and heartbreaking for both of us.   A friend who had experienced similar circumstances came and sat next to me -- simply that, sat beside me, and brought comfort.  She knew the comfort I needed.  Later, and many, many times over, I have gone and sat beside another... and brought that same comfort... simply because I experienced it.

I've watched friends, with difficult diagnosis of cancer, reach out to others... more recently receiving that same news; text, call, and sit beside... they understand the comfort needed.  They have received it from the Father of compassion.

I've made the call to a friend whose children were older than mine, wailing, "I don't know what to do with this situation - this challenge - this hurt."  She came and simply sat beside me and brought comfort with words of Godly wisdom and words of comfort.

Struggling with anxiety, I've observed a friend willing to call or text or write a note of encouragement to another struggling with the same challenge.  Realizing the first friend hasn't "conquered" these feelings of panic, but knowing the Source of comfort in trouble gives hope to another.

Plagued with chronic pain, I recently heard Frank on the phone with someone struggling with ongoing pain.  I understand how you feel I understand your frustration, I know the comfort I've received from depending on God... pain hasn't been removed, but comfort has surely come... in the midst of pain.

SO that... As you have been comforted by the God of all compassion, please offer that same understanding of comfort as you share the compassion and encouragement to others.  Allow the comfort you have received to bless another.  We have been comforted SO THAT we can comfort others with the comfort we understand in a way others cannot!

Someone needs to hear that they are not alone, there is comfort in their suffering.  Would you be the one to sit beside the one, to bring words of encouragement, to listen with compassionate understanding as only you can do!  Send the text, make the call... even better... just go and sit beside them.

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