How God Brings Comfort
“5For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.”
2 Corinthians 7:5-7 NIV (emphasis mine)
At the Hitlon Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki is a large Hawaiian quilted comforter draped on the wall to create an ambiance and decorate the hotel lobby area. It looks beautiful and it probably feels nice, but you will never know because it is a decoration that will not be touched. On my bed is a comforter that is there to keep me warm when I am cold and to make me comfortable when I rest. The bible refers to the Holy Spirit as our comforter. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is much more like my comforter that is for use and not like the comforter at the hotel that is for show. Paul the apostle gives a lesson in 2 Corinthians about the comforter, or the Holy Spirit, and how He uses people to bring comfort to each other.
Paul the apostle understood the need for a comforter because he understood discouragement both from within and from without. He understood that there was discouragement that came from those outside of the faith who rejected Jesus and saw believers as a threat and a danger. Paul experienced discouragement from those within the church who wanted to discredit Paul’s testimony and were hungry for power. Paul also knew discouragement that came from within. I’m sure Paul wrestled with the same self doubt, fears, and discouragements that I wrestle with today.
Paul first makes the observation that God is a, “God, who comforts the downcast.” I like that because it says that when my spirits are down, God Himself is the One who will bring me comfort. My problems can become so overwhelming and pressures so intense that I lose sight of God and forget that He will comfort the downcast.
Paul also gives some insight into how God brings comfort. It is interesting that God, with all of the resources of the universe at His disposal, could use anything to bring comfort to His people. He could send angels to sing in angelic choirs, He could open up the skies and show His glory, or He could even remove my ability to worry. But God chose to work in a different way. While He could easily do it all Himself, He chooses to use His people to bring comfort to His people.
What was the avenue that God had chosen to use to bring comfort to Paul? God chose to bring comfort simply through the coming of Titus. What is the avenue God uses to bring encouragement to me? God uses the coming of a friend or family member who loves Jesus first and me second. He uses the person of God who is open to allowing the great comforter use them to comfort others. He uses the person who is led by the Spirit of God to give an encouraging word to a brother, to speak life to a discouraged sister, to lift up a young believer, or to stir the heart of the tired believer.
That makes me think: When I am coming, do people find me as a comfort or a drain? Am I an encourager or a discourager? Do I bring life to those around me, or do I bring death? Blessings or curses? While it may seem like a question of my general attitude, Paul shows me that what I bring to people reflects how the Holy Spirit is working or is not working in me.
Lord use me to bring comfort to others and lead me to places where I will be encouraged in my journey with Jesus as well. Amen.