Today I was doing my morning devotional and I was reading in 2 Corinthians. The verses that I was reading, however, was not what caught my attention. A lot of times when I am directed to read certain verses I will want to read more. I read the verses that were following my original devotion but I still felt like something was lacking. So, I back up and read the preceding verses. Those 2 verses really got me to thinking.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
The first thing that came to mind when I read these verses is, “instructions on paying it forward.” We have all heard about the people in line at McDonald’s who pays for the person behind them’s meal. Or, maybe the person at the toll booth who pays for the next person’s toll. Those are examples of paying it forward and ones that we are more accustomed to. However, the verses above tell us that we need to be comforting others in any trouble with the comfort that we received from God when we experienced troubles.
I sat down and made a short list of areas that I bet many of you have received comfort in from the Lord and in turn you might know someone else who could use some comforting.
- Lack of money – Who hasn’t struggled at some point? Who doesn’t know someone who is currently struggling to make ends meet?
- Lost their job – In this economy, we have seen so many people lose their job. It can be devastating especially if they are the breadwinner for the family. Not only do they have to deal with financial worries but it deals a blow to your confidence and self-esteem.
- Can’t get pregnant – This is a big deal. You read about it several times in the Bible. Sarah and Abraham are probably the most famous couple that dealt with infertility but there were so many others. If you have ever struggled in this area or know someone who is struggling now then maybe you can share the stories of these women. The Lord heard their petitions and gave them answers. We must learn to accept the Lord’s reply.
- Miscarriage – Devastation, heartbreak, pain, and loss. The emotions can be all consuming. It is amazing when you start talking to women how many have experienced at least one miscarriage. I have had one and my mother had two. I was told that when we have a miscarriage that it is the bodies way of knowing that there was an issue with the pregnancy. The Lord is just calling the babies home sooner than we would like.
- Loss of a child – I can’t even begin to understand the pain. This is one that would leave me gasping for air and curled up in a fetal position. Those who have experienced this loss and who have felt the Lord’s comforting hand can be of immense help to others who are trying to learn to deal with the pain. Reaching out to those in distress is therapy in itself.
- Wayward or troubled child – Why don’t our children just do what we tell them? Why do they go down the wrong path, why do they shut us out? It would be so comforting to have someone to talk to who had experienced the same troubles and to see a glimmer of hope. To know that the Lord can change the present circumstances and see that He helped others and that He can help you also.
- Aging and Loss of a parent – I have heard from several of you that you are dealing with parents that are aging physically and mentally. Joe’s mother went through several years of terrible dementia before the Lord called her home. It was sad and so hard to see her because she was such a prideful lady. We knew that this would have devastated her to have known that she would be dependant on others. I am blessed that I still have very active parents but I know that is not the case for a lot of people my age.
- Divorce or Loss of a Spouse – Loneliness – Learning how to live without a spouse would be horrible. Being responsible for all the income, taking care of all the repairs, having no one to talk about your day with would be some of the normal day to day issues that you would face. Please, if you know someone who is going through this now pick up the phone and talk to them. Invite them to lunch, take them to the movies, add them to some of your group activities.
Paying it forward is easy. It doesn’t have to cost money, it will only cost you a little of your time but the payback will be HUGE! They will be grateful and you will feel blessed that you were there to help.
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Have a Blessed Day!