It’s Monday morning, following a weekend of tragedy. In addition to the multiple other atrocities happening across the Middle East, SE Asia, and the rest of the world, on our own home front, the media is aflame with the senseless murder of Christian artist Christina Grimmie and then what the news is calling, “the greatest mass shooting event in U.S. history.” What do we make of this. How do we respond? I opened the Word and began to ponder what the Lord would have to share. His Word is so timely. My reading program for this morning found me in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.
Praise to the God of All Comfort
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV).
Lloyd John Ogilvie had some very insightful thoughts for this passage.
THERE IS A JOY TO BE experienced when we care deeply about people and their needs. This joy comes when we let our hearts mourn over the things which bring grief to the heart of God. When we are involved with God in caring for people, we are also recipients of God’s comfort.
The more we know of the person’s potential, the more we mourn over their failure in squandering life. When we know what life was meant to be, we ache for people to see it and experience it to the full. The mess people make of life is a source of mourning for us. What peace and power they could know!
We also mourn over what people do to one another. Our hearts ache when we see the news and observe the grotesque ways people hurt and destroy one another. We dare to get involved with the people in our lives and feel with them the pain of what other people have done. Discernment is a powerful gift to receive from the Holy Spirit. It enables us to see what is going on in our world and to feel the anguish of it. Comfort is God’s gift to those who share life this deeply with Him. Joy grows out of the realization that God is at work in people’s lives and calls us to communicate His love to them in spite of everything.
Today is a time when people, the ones that God made in His image, are hurting. The people whom God loved so much, that even while we were yet sinners, He sent His own son to reconcile us.
“7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-9
Now is the time to comfort others with the same comfort that we have received.