“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 receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Growing up, Mom draped comforters over the ends of our beds. It was an extra cover in case we got cold in the night. Weather in Texas can change in a heartbeat. When we felt ill, she would wrap us in our comforter and place us on the couch so she could go about her housework and still keep a watchful eye on us. To this day, a comforter symbolizes love, healing, warmth, and security to me. I still keep one at the end of my bed. And when I am ill, I snatch it off my bed and migrate to the couch.
Being cozy and warm is like having arms wrapped around you. Prayer shawls can have that effect. They make you feel as if you are enveloped in God's love. Even without my shawl, my prayer time with God often feels that way, even if I am coming to Him asking forgiveness. I feel His Holy Spirit hugging me. His presence surrounds me, protects me and loves me.
My brain spun around this verse like a loop-de-loop on a roller coaster. It wove in and out of the clauses in a spiral that didn't end. Yet, Paul’s progression is logical. Giving comfort is a non-ending spiral. Before we can comfort, we have to have been comforted. You cannot share an experience you have never had. And, because we have been comforted, we should now comfort others. Why? Because as Christians, our comforter is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. He designed it so that our response to His comfort would be to spread that comfort to others and lead them to Him.
Dear Lord, Because You forgive my sins, I can more easily forgive others. That opens me up to provide them comfort, and more importantly, showing them my Lord who is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Thank you for being my comfort when I need You, and also, through the grace and mercy of Your Son’s sacrifice, making it comfortable to come before You on my knees to be wrapped in Your never-ending love. Amen.
Are you comfortable receiving God's mercy and love? Maybe you will feel called to wrap His love around someone else's shoulders this week? Whichever scenario fits your situation, it's okay. Grab your comforter, prayer shawl or blankie and snuggle in. Comfort awaits.