As I look outside at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, the dusk and the cool wet weather has signaled that we are into the fall season. The month of September this year was very pleasant. Very different from two years ago when I was in the hospital and northern Colorado was being ravaged by floods.
I actually had one planned meeting and one unexpected meeting this morning at Timberline Church. I have always enjoyed “coming alongside” others to encourage them in their endeavors. This morning, I trust, provided me that opportunity.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NCV
The connection between those who have experienced crisis, suffering or trials is interesting and unique. When we were returning from our trip to Orlando, there was a woman coming onto the plane looking for a seat and noticed the women in my row with a head scarf? “Are you a survivor?” She asked. The woman responded, “I am, or I’m working on it, I have one more chemo treatment.” The woman responded, “I am too and you will make and you are already a survivor.”
When I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, I remember the first time visiting with Sherri Harris. Although her fight with MS, has had challenges that are greater than mine. She could encourage me about dealing with life having a “nuro-muscular” disorder. I have found that same with my overall health crisis experience. I was in a conversation with a gentleman who was on the opposite side of an issue we were discussing. He was using a cane and we began to talk about our similar hospital and disability experiences and it made us feel like comrades.
I am thankful for the comfort the Lord promises and provides for us in times of trouble. Paul said, “He comforts us every time…” I believe I have found it is every time and in many ways.
It is interesting to find the words, “mercy” and “comfort” together. Mercy is just not the Lord staying judgment against those who are guilty, it is relief and comfort for those who are suffering. When in pain, when in despair over the Lord through His mercy comes to our rescue. And yes, that is often through others. The uncle of a college friend of mine, by the name of Donald Stephens founded a nonprofit called, “Mercy Ships.” Its mission is to “provide free healthcare and improve healthcare delivery systems in the poorest nations.”
There is no one who has endured more trouble and suffering than Christ. I believe next to Christ I would name the Apostle Paul. So when Paul says, “much comfort comes to us through Christ” (2 Cor. 1:5) he wasn’t talking theoretically. He knew from personal experience the comfort of the Lord in his many troubles and sufferings.
Once we have received God’s comfort, we are to be a source of comfort for others. I am thankful the Lord can use us all as a source of comfort to those who are going through difficult times. We can encourage faith and trust and pray and serve. But there is always something special about the comfort that comes from “fellow struggler” in the journey of life.
My friend John, who I met at Timberline Church, is one of those. John is a brilliant man who has a better grasp of Latin languages than anyone I know. He has served as an interpreter for our pastor on missions trips. But a stoke has impacted his speech and left its affect on his body. However, he is a constant encouragement and let’s me know, “I can make it.”
Another person I have found in “my corner” is Rich Dixon. Rich has an incredible story of becoming a paraplegic through a fall off of a roof over 30 years ago. I have been very humbled that Rich encourages me in my recovery, knowing that I have prospects for the future, that he will never experience. But the Lord is using Rich to make an impact on God’s kingdom and others through his bike riding ministry known as “Rich’s Ride” in ways I will never experience.
Finally, it is important to not just declare God as a God of all comfort. But to allow that to be an expression of praise and worship from our lips. Thank you Lord, that you are a God of mercy and comfort. You comfort us in all of our troubles. You allow us to encourage and be encouraged by others who have found you faithful and are experiencing your comfort even in the midst of their present troubles. AMEN!