September 19, 2016

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Devotional Thought
Not too long ago I went through a significant health issue that put me in ICU for ten days during which I was pretty helpless.  I couldn’t do much of anything on my own.  It’s quite the humbling experience to be so dependent on everyone else and unable to reciprocate in any significant way.  I became immensely grateful for even the smallest things. A “cup of cold water,” a reassuring touch, and just someone walking into the room brought on incredibly deeper levels of gratitude and appreciation.  

That season of affliction has changed the way I minister to others.  The Lord comforted me during that time and sent others to be an embodiment of His comfort.  Those experiences shaped my mindfulness of the needs of others in similar situations.  Not only do I have a better idea of what kinds of needs they face, but I know the power and impact that one person can make in ministering in that situation.  A visit, a smile, a touch…all can have a deep, relational and spiritual impact bringing the hope and peace of God into the moment.  It’s not about me and what I offer.  It’s about what has been placed in me because of my experiences that I now have available to give back.

What have you received in your times of “affliction”?  Your affliction has looked different than mine, but those experiences have still shaped you to be even more useful in the Kingdom.  And the Lord will use that shaping to bless others.  Don’t horde that gift.  Be a conduit of the love, grace, and comfort you have received to others.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for the experiences You have given me and how You can use even the hardest ones to show me Your comfort.  Help me to be mindful of those around me who may need to be recipients of Your comfort through me.  May my actions be a picture of the grace of Christ that will draw others to see the power of the Gospel in their lives.