He has chosen us to bring comfort to those who grieve.
Recently a good friend’s wife died of cancer. I had the honor last weekend to officiate at her memorial service. I know from experience how a person is supported well during the early days of loss. The attention given and the necessary arrangements are often God’s way of cushioning us during what would normally be an excruciating period in our lives. I carefully compare it to going to the dentist. When the dentist does the hardest work of drilling, we don’t feel anything because of the numbing affect of anesthesia. It’s when the medicine wears off that the pain hits us. You would think the hardest time would be at the epicenter of loss, at the time of death and the several days that follow. However, the hardest moments are often when the anesthesia wears off. The distraction provided by the planning and presence of others no longer serves to provide that cushioning. And so, the pain is felt for weeks, even months. Others go back to their lives, but the one mourning the loss is left to grieve alone.
This is often when God shows up!
I can pray for my friend to be strengthened and encouraged, or I can pray … and… call him several times a week to see how he is doing. Thus, God is comforting him through me.
In some sense, God has limited how he works by doing what he does through his people. He gave us the Great Commission, and it’s the churches responsibility to do it. He supplies the needs of the poor by urging us to give them help. God is a team player. It brings him glory when His people serve as His hands and His feet. I can pray for the homeless and the poor in my community, or I can pray for them … and… I can promise God I will pick them up and give them a ride when I see them walking for miles from home to grocery stores.
This morning I read the following in my devotions. Paul is writing to his friends in Corinth. He writes this, “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” (2 Cor. 7:6)
God is not unilateral in how He works. He does what He does through you and through me.