Today I am reading from the first chapter of 2 Corinthians especially verses 3 and 4: May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.
God does indeed comfort us in all our troubles and for this I give daily thanks for my own comfort and the comfort of those I love. But I have been surprised as I have grown in my relationship with God at how passionate I have grown to be in comforting "other people who are in every kind of trouble." At one point in my life I was sharing a one-bedroom apartment with my dear mother and my beloved in-laws offered shelter and boundless love to my young children as my estranged husband and I sorted through a painful divorce. While I did not live with my children in my car I have no pride in that, only gratitude to those who loved us in very practical ways through those dark days.
As my financial situation improved and my children and I were reunited in a sparsely furnished but love filled home I found myself thinking of all the families whose lives are circumscribed by financial want and physical separation. I was deeply grateful to everyone who offered prayers, comfort and aid that helped us to rebuild our lives. That leaves me with a life-long tenderness not only for folks who had our experience, but for all who are in need of prayers, comfort and aid.
So I find this verse of particular interest. It reflects my experience though it was written two millenia before I was born. Also, it reminds me I have much to pay forward because my back-story is so filled with grace.