Hi, reader of this little article! I try to picture you, but that, of course, could hardly be realistic. Maybe your church is divided into districts and you are a member of one. Or maybe you are an elder or deacon in a district. Some of your fellow-members have problems, some struggle with illnesses, some have family problems that won't go away, and some face difficulties that defy solutions. Maybe you are one of them. You also realize that you don't know everything that goes on in the lives and hearts of the people with whom you worship every Sunday. Some of them wept by themselves, but you didn't know; they smiled at you in church.
Did Paul, the apostle, weep? Yes, I think he did. In Romans 12:15 he wrote: “Weep with those who weep.” We may assume that he did what he wrote. Look at that short sentence again. It's more than advice. Paul extends a challenge to us. As I sit here pondering Paul's words, I feel inadequate, I feel hesitant to challenge you.
Where can we go?
Back to Paul. He has more to say. I will give him some extra room in this little column. Here it is, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
“Praise be to the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer as you share in our suffering, so also you share in our comfort.”
Note the connection here. Comfort comes from God, through Jesus, hard on the heels of suffering. Prayer has real promise now. The more we suffer the more comfort we may claim. When it comes to worry, I know what you are talking about. It pursues us all, we cannot escape it. But we can face it. Paul's words here are exuberant. There is no shortage of comfort. We can share it. We can assure each other that we understand . A little anyway. Together we take it to Jesus who knows! He said, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.” (Mark 14:34).
He died. And He arose!