2 Corinthians 1:3-4 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.
This theme comes up again and again in the Bible, especially the New Testament, because it’s important to remember that the direct recipient of anything from God is hardly ever the end recipient. God gives us stuff to pass on! That’s not at all to say that we don’t enjoy them or benefit from them, but sometimes the greater blessing comes in the transmission, rather than the reception. As Jesus said, in a rare quote outside the Gospels, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) We don’t think of comfort as a commodity, but it can certainly be received and passed on. On a linguistic note, in Japanese, “compassion” is a homophone for “self-love.” That’s interesting because it’s hard to value others properly when we don’t value ourselves properly. It is when we understand that God loves us and considers us valuable enough to send His Son to die for our sins that we are in turn able to love and recognize the value of those around us. I’m reminded of my older grandson, who felt secure enough in being loved himself that he welcomed and loved his younger brother, rather than being jealous. That kind of security in children can only be had by expressing love to them through skinship, personal attention, and appropriate discipline. When we fail to recognize God’s discipline for what it is, and that it’s an expression of God’s love, then we are far less able to pass on God’s blessing to those around us.
I have certainly enjoyed the blessings of being a conduit of God’s comfort. Just yesterday Cathy and I visited a lady in the hospital who broke the ball off the top of her femur and is waiting for surgery to replace it, but blood tests show inflammation to a degree that the surgery has been put off. From the moment we walked into her room her face was bright and animated, but she told us that before we arrived she had been feeling really down; we were conduits of God’s comfort to her, just by showing up. Cathy has had repeated hospitalizations for various things, and she was able to transmit the comfort she has received to this lady. I frequently experience moments of being aware I am passing on what I have received, and I am grateful. It is a high privilege to be God’s conduit.
Father, Help me be cleaner and more open every day so that I may pass on undistorted what You pour into me. May I be an instrument of comfort, hope, and joy, so that people may recognize and receive Your love in repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!