Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Two qualities are needed to be a biblical comforter. First, you must know pain. If you have never hurt it is very doubtful that you will be able to empathize with someone in pain. You don’t have to have suffered in the same way but you do have to be acquainted with grief.
A woman freshly bereaved of her child told me that this was the second time she had gone through the death of a child. She told me that this time around her pastor was a comfort to her where he had not been the first time. “He has obviously experienced grief since we lost our first son,” she confided.
That is what makes Jesus a perfect High Priest: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8 NIV). Because Jesus knows pain, He knows how to comfort us in our sorrows.
Second, we have to know comfort. We can’t pass on what we have not received. Those who have experienced God’s comfort in their suffering can confidently share it with someone who is suffering. One of the ways God redeems our pain is when we have come to a place we can use it to encourage others. A profound sense of gratitude wells up in the heart of the comforter that she can understand her friend’s pain and yet knows that God is greater than the pain.
Pain connects us as humans. No one escapes it. Pain is one way we get to experience the love of our Father and fellowship with our Savior. It is also a way we become vessels of comfort and encouragement to others.
How have you seen God use your pain for good? I’d love to hear from you.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Sue McGee Wind says
Wow, I’ve been through tremendous pain and sorrow, so I should be a great comforter, huh? If you FB this, I will share it with others.
Ann Johnson says
Sam and I have experienced a lot of different pains: teenagers, parent, death, death of our business. I won’t go on and on. But God has been faithful. He has given us people to counsel and comfort us, you and Larry among them. Then, he has made our pain holy by allowing us to comfort others who are in pain. Hopefully they see that God has brought us through pain and that we are more like him, not necessarily because of the pain, but because we drew closer to him in it. Hopefully, that will encourage them that God will bring them through, too. We love you for being there for us and for being our friends.