Monday, September 29, 2008

Plenty to Go Around

"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 have received from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

One of the greatest temptations we face when confronted with troubles is the tendency to become self-centered trouble-bodies. "Poor me," we often say in our distress. "Why me, God?" Right? The problem with this kind of thinking is found at the time in which we are comforted in our troubles. When God answers our prayer for comfort. When God gives us peace amid the storm.

Often times, we receive our compassion from God and allow ourselves to sink in the comfort. We don't want to leave. We bask in it. We relish it. We hide it under our pillows. But, that is not the reason that God gives us comfort in our troubles. God doesn't comfort us so that we will simply find a remedy from distress. Instead, God has a purpose beyond our comfort when He sends it to us. He sees others who are hurting, too. When we are still straining the last drop of comfort from our situation, God sees other needs. God sees other hurts. God sees opportunities for us to minister to others.

When we pray for comfort, what is our intention? Is it simply to feel relief from the burns of our troubles? Or, is it because we want comfort from our troubles and desire to minister to others who are facing similar troubles? It is important to see that God is the, "God of all comfort." All comfort comes from His hand. We should be willing to share our comfort with others out of thankfulness to God. We should not selfishly keep it to ourselves.

One of the earliest memories that I have of attending church was when I was in the nursery at FBC in Samson, AL. There was the electronic teddy bear named Teddy Rockspin in that nursery. I thought he was the most amazing toy that I had ever seen! He could actually talk to you! Wonderful! Absolutely magnificent! There was a problem though. This one other kid was hogging Teddy. I remember doing everything I could to try to get a few minutes with Teddy. It didn't work. Apparently, the other kid believed that the electronic bear was his personal gift from the nursery. Apparently, it had a sticker with his name on it. Apparently, it was his world and I was just living in it.

In a similar way, although with much higher implications than a small, electronic teddy bear, we can either choose to be like the little kid in the nursery or we can choose to share our comforts. Our troubles are never just about us. Never. Neither is God's comfort. It doesn't have a sticker with our name on it. Rather, there is more fulfillment to receive. What an awesome thing it is to actually be able to comfort others with the same comfort that God has shown us!

Have you recently received any comfort from God? If so, be mindful that there is plenty to go around.