“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.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
I’ll never forget the day I opened the door to find her standing on my front step with a bag of donuts in one hand and a steaming cup of coffee in the other.
I was dressed in the same gray sweatshirt I’d worn all week, my uncombed hair tucked beneath my husband’s faded baseball cap. The dark circles under my eyes testified to sleepless nights and tear-filled days.
But the woman on my doorstep didn’t gape at my disheveled appearance. She just transferred that warm cup from her hands to mine.
“I thought maybe you could use an extra cup of coffee this morning,” she said as she gave my shoulder a compassionate squeeze.
We weren’t best friends or life-long kin, but we served in the church nursery together and shared conversation in the carpool line at school.
She wasn’t a doctor or a pastor, an extrovert or an expert. But she was a woman who’d known the ache of empty arms and the comfort of her Savior’s touch. So, when she’d read the words of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that morning, she knew what she had to do.
“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.”
Coffee and donuts were optional. But sharing the comfort of Christ was not.
I invited her in, and we made our way to the kitchen table. She ignored the breakfast dishes piled high on the counter and the sticky high chair still boasting splatters of last night’s dinner. She simply sat down in the middle of my mess and opened that donut bag with a gentle smile.
My wee ones gathered around her with squeals of delight. And I blinked long and hard in hopes of corralling the tears welling hot and hapless behind my weary lids. She hadn’t come to fix me. She had come to be with me.
She didn’t ask me how I was or assure me I’d be okay.
She just listened as I shared that my second-grader had gone to school and told his teacher that Jesus was holding the baby that used to be in his mommy’s tummy.
She just listened when I tried to describe my heart’s tango between hurt and hope, fear and faith.
And she quietly reached for my hand when I admitted I didn’t know how to quell the nagging emptiness that lingered long after my maternity clothes had been packed away.
She knew there were no words that could douse my disappointment; no deeds that could erase my ache. But she knew this, too:
We can’t offer others the comfort of Christ until we acknowledge their chasm of pain.
She knew that sometimes, acknowledging people’s pain means extending grace and giving grief space.
Sometimes, acknowledging people’s pain means sharing tears and a cup of coffee.
But always … acknowledging people’s pain means stepping in, instead of turning away.
When the Apostle Paul writes that we are to “comfort” others in their troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), he uses the Greek word parakaleō, which means “to call to one’s side, to summons.”
With irrefutable strokes of truth, Paul paints a picture of presence and proximity. He reminds us since God has drawn near in our time of need, we must do the same for others … no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it might be.
We can begin today, friends.
By showing up. And by stepping in.
By ringing the doorbell. Or pausing in the grocery store.
By stopping on the street corner or walking into the office.
Wherever we are, we can carry the comfort of Christ to the hurting people in our life. Humble hearts and open ears are suggested. Coffee and donuts are optional.
Dear Jesus, thank You for meeting me in my troubles with consolation and compassion. Give me courage to be a courier of Your comfort to the hurting people in my midst. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 1:7, “We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” (NLT)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Ask God to show you someone who needs the comfort of Christ today. Do something tangible to carry His compassion into their situation.
How has a friend encouraged you when you were down before? Tell us your story today in the comments!
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