“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 may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
The content of my Bible study this week has been deep and rough. For the past several weeks, I’ve been on a journey through 1 & 2 Thessalonians with about 80 women from my church on Tuesday nights, and it has been nothing short of incredible. Each day of homework has been transforming, and each Tuesday night together as a group has been so uplifting and encouraging. Not to say that this past week wasn’t either of those things, but it was a bit more difficult. The content dug deep into my soul and into some areas of woundedness for me personally, and I found myself a bit more desperate for the Lord and His healing touch than before.
Since the homework and teaching affected me at such a deeper level, I assumed that it might have had the same effect on my Tuesday night friends. So, I went straight to prayer. I began asking the Lord to speak hope to our hearts and to shout truth louder than any words of condemnation. I began believing God for healing. I asked the Lord to comfort those who were wounded. And then the unexpected occurred. The Lord spoke back these words to my heart, “Pay it forward.”
Much of my early life was marked by brokenness and the fallout of my sinful choices. For the past several years now as I’ve walked closely with the Lord, I’ve been the recipient of His lavish mercy, love, and grace over every failure, stain, and mess of my past. Through my pursuit of Christ, I’ve come to know the nearness of His comfort. Through every affliction and every painful consequence I’ve endured, Christ has comforted me by His love, and I was reminded this week why.
He comforts us so that we can in turn comfort others. He is present in our pain so that we can be present for others in theirs. He is near to the brokenhearted so that we can be also. The same comfort that He extends to us in our times of need was intended to be passed on to others. Even if it’s painful. Even if it’s hard. Even if remembering the hardship we went through is difficult. Even if retelling the story is humbling. The same comfort we received was meant to be shared.
To all who are in Christ: you have been comforted by Him. At one time or another, you’ve been on the receiving end of His comfort. Are you paying it forward? Are you comforting the hurting around you? Are you allowing God to use your story for His glory? Pay it forward, my friends.