guest post by: Christine Laporte
“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”.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
News about someone’s tragedy can be emotionally stinging for us. But for the person who just experienced this tragedy, their world stops. Their world as they once knew it is now broken. Shock sets in and loss overwhelms them. Grief engulfs their mind and soul. We need to try to put ourselves in their experience, empathize with them and walk through this season as a friend, neighbor, family member and as part of the body of Christ.
The Lord has recently shown me that I like “comfort” too much. But am I comforting myself by not stretching across into the world of “discomfort”. We are CALLED to comfort others. Why? Simply because we have received comfort from Jesus, Yahweh Raah, our Shepherd. Just as He places Himself in our lives, feels our heartache and cries with us, we need to suffer alongside others.
Recently, I learned of a young man who drowned at a popular beach resort. Although three of his friends were able to escape the powerful rip tide and under current, this boy could not get out. Experienced personnel, such as lifeguards and the coast guard, started searching for him when they saw him go under. He was 17 years old.
Although I didn’t know him or his family, as a mom of two children, I get a lump in my throat and an ache inside thinking of them. For this precious child’s parents, siblings, friends, teammates and classmates, their world has been forever altered. I know other parents who have lost a child and every year on the anniversary of their death, their parents mourn deeply.
His family may never go back to the beach to vacation again. And each summer will be marred with the memory of the last time they saw, hugged or talked to their son, brother, nephew and grandson. They have become part of a group of people who have an earthly emptiness that we who still have our children cannot comprehend.
Still, we can do something to aid in their healing. We can provide comfort as we go before the throne of our merciful God and request COMFORT, PEACE (which is not of this world), ANSWERS and STRENGTH. I know I would need this done for me if one of my daughters passed away before I did.
I searched online for the meaning of “comfort” and found this definition at http://www.stevesweetman.com: “Our English word “comfort” is translated from the Greek word “paraklesis”. Paraklesis is almost made up of two words. They are “para”, meaning “alongside” and “klesis” meaning, “call or called”. Thus, paraklesis, or “comfort” means, “to come alongside”.
This is the perfect picture of what Jesus and the Holy Spirit do for us, His children, and we are to follow His example. If you cannot reach out by phone, send a card or visit with someone who is suffering today, pray for them. Do NOT underestimate the power that our prayers bring into this world. I will leave you with one of my favorite verses
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. (James 5:16)