“… who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2Corinthians 1:4)
They say an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.” Paul is telling us in this Scripture passage that a minister of comfort is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.” According to Paul, every time you enter into a deeper level of suffering God gives you a diploma you can frame and hang on your wall of credentials.
Captured during the Vietnam War, Jeremiah Denton spent 7 years of solitary confinement in Hanoi. Alone in that cell he made an amazing discovery: God was there and God Himself comforted him. Have you entered into a level of suffering that was deep enough for you to make that same discovery? If you have, then you are a qualified minister of comfort and you can tell other hurting hearts where the Comfort is.
As a pastor for just under six decades I have made a discovery. The best one to comfort a parent who has lost a child is a parent who has lost a child; and the best one to comfort the person who has lost a spouse is someone who has lost a spouse – when those who have suffered these losses have been comforted by God Himself. The same is true for women who have had mastectomies, those who are going through divorce, battling cancer and every other shade and grade of suffering.
When God Himself has comforted you in your deepest levels of suffering are you willing to reach outside yourself and become a qualified minister of comfort?
Dick Woodward, 17 June 2010