“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 NIV
When you are in pain – physically, emotionally or mentally – what do you want most of all? Does you heart long for someone to feel sorry for you, pity you because of what you’re going through? Or is your desire for someone to walk beside you and share your burden?
When I’m hurting, what I want most of all is to have a friend say, “I love you. What can I do to help?” If that’s how you feel too, then you have a clear picture of what the above Scripture means when it says our Heavenly Father is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
The Father of Compassion
Two of my favorite Old Testament references about the Lord’s compassion help us to get a clearer picture of this attribute of God. They compare God’s compassion to that of a father and mother toward their biological children.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” Psalms 103:13 ESV
A loving father shows compassion for his children by walking beside them as they walk through trouble, by reminding them how much they are loved.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 ESV
And for those of us who are mothers, lacking compassion for our own young children seems like an almost unforgivable sin.
God’s compassion is freely given to His children, and the only thing that can thwart it is our continued disobedience.
“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:31-33 ESV
The God of All Comfort
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” Psalms 119:50 ESV
Life in this world is filled with trials, but whatever problem you may be facing today, you can be assured our Heavenly Father knows the situation and is eager to provide comfort in the midst of it. And one way He comforts us is by reminding us of the promises of His Word.
Another source of comfort in the midst of trouble is knowing and trusting in the attributes of God’s character. For example, reflecting on His steadfast love brings us comfort.
“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.” Psalms 119:76 ESV
In His mercy and love, God is eager to provide comfort to His children in any and all circumstances. Whatever the trial we face, our Heavenly Father knows the situation and offers comfort as needed. The fact that He is the God of all comfort teaches that all comfort ultimately comes from Him. He is our source of peace and happiness and blessing, regardless of what is happening around us.
Experiencing God’s compassion and comfort should be our motivation to show compassion and give comfort to others who are hurting. As I read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, the word conduit comes to mind. A conduit is simply a channel through which something is conveyed, in this case the compassion and comfort of the Lord.
God is not asking us to produce compassion and comfort, simply to be a channel for carrying these qualities to those around us who are hurting so that a need can be met. What is actually being transmitted? The compassion and mercy of our Heavenly Father.
This week, reflect on the times you have experienced compassion and comfort from the Lord. And choose to be a conduit of His compassion and comfort to those you are around who are hurting.