He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.2 Corinthians 1:4
Our Heavenly Father knows the support that we need in times of distress. He never leaves us alone, and always jumps into the middle of our messes to offer comfort. According to the book of 2 Corinthians, He comforts us so that we can comfort others. His Spirit trains us to be an extension of his love to a hurting world. Becoming a comforter like Jesus requires us to lay down some of our own comfort to step into someone else’s difficulty. And while we are not responsible for solving everyone’s problems, we can offer the support they need to navigate through the trials of life. This comfort poured out from God through us is key to reaching the lost and is essential in the lifestyle of every believer.
When Comforting Gets Uncomfortable
In scripture we see Jesus always positioning himself in uncomfortable situations. He was always stepping into people’s suffering, regardless of what the religious leaders thought of his actions. Jesus went outside the cultural norms of the day to reach people in pain. And if Jesus submitted his own comforts to do the Father’s will; did you think Jesus is concerned with keeping you comfortable? There is a counterfeit comfort in our world that distracts us from becoming the hands and feet of Jesus. We do not like getting uncomfortable and make efforts to stay away from awkward situations with others. The gospel compels us to be a counter-cultural movement in the earth and lay down our own luxuries for the sake of others. So, when we are starting to walk into this lifestyle of comforting others, we must overcome the initial shock of getting uncomfortable. Each time we submit to God, he extends his arm with the provisions we need in each situation.
Promises Attached to Problems
One of my favorite authors is Graham Cooke. He makes a point about how we can move through problems in life that I think is brilliant. Graham says, “Every problem actually proves the existence of a provision. All we must do is explore the promise that is also present so that we know how to stand and what to confess.” So, when we encounter a problem, we do not focus on the problem itself, but look for the promise that God has attached to it. This is a matter of perspective. We have a relationship with someone who has answers to every question we ask. We know the one with all the solutions. And God is wanting to partner with us to make the exchange. For others who do not know Christ, this partnership with God is the key to their accepting Jesus as Lord. When we are comforting people in pain, we can simply ask the Holy Spirit this question: What provision and/or promise is attached to this problem? Listen for the promise Holy Spirit will give you and offer that as a gift of comfort to the person you are ministering to. It then becomes their responsibility to grab a hold of that promise until they see it fulfilled.
Your Mission Field is Where You Are
Becoming a disciple of Jesus is not easy. Following Jesus means sitting in the grit and leaning into messy situations, waiting to hear the promises attached to these problems the people around us are facing. We are called to move in with compassion and use what he already gave us to help them. Your mission field is where you are. If you let the Holy Spirit open your eyes, he will guide you in becoming a minister of hope to everyone who crosses your path. Every time I have asked to become a vessel of compassion, my eyes suddenly see where my help is needed. All at once I see a neighbor who needs encouragement; a cashier who needs prayer for healing; a child who needs a prophetic word spoken over their situation; an elderly relative who needs someone to talk to. Those things are ministry. We do not need fancy titles to lead in compassion. I would encourage you to take a look at what you have been given and start there. He has you right where he needs you, and you are fit for the job!