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Monday, August 24, 2015

Coming Alongside

We are starting a New Week with Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 Bible in a Year: Psalms 116-118; 1 Corinthians 7:1-19 >Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4 When my sister Carole was diagnosed with breast cancer, our family worried. That diagnosis, with its surgeries and treatments, caused us to fear for her well-being, which drove our family to prayer on her behalf. Over the ensuing months, Carole’s updates were honest about the challenges. But we all celebrated when the report came back that the surgery and treatments had been successful. Carole was on the road to recovery! Then, less than a year later, my sister Linda faced the same battle. Immediately, Carole came alongside Linda, helping her understand what to expect and how to prepare for what she would face. Carole’s experience had equipped her to walk with Linda through her own trial. This is what Paul calls for in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, where we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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.” Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t waste anything. Our struggles not only give us an opportunity to experience His comfort, but they also open the door for us to share that comfort with others in their struggles. —Bill Crowder Today, how can I be an encouragement to others whose hearts are weighed down by the cares of life? God’s presence brings us comfort; our presence brings others comfort. INSIGHT: This passage demonstrates how our personal pain can help others who suffer. Paul uses the word comfort both vertically and horizontally. God extends comfort to us. We experience His comfort. Then we can offer comfort to others. In this way, our pain can become a conduit of care for those in distress and lead to gratitude in the midst of pain. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (v. 3). Dennis Fisher

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