July, 21, by Dan Waugh
This morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians and was drawn to consider a few verses in chapter seven more deeply. Paul writes,
But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.2 Corinthians 7:6-7
Paul reminds us that God provides comfort to the downtrodden, downcast, and discouraged. I think we all qualify at times and all stand in need of God’s encouragement. Maybe more right now than normal. That God comforts those who need comfort is a truth we hold dear when we grieve, mourn, or struggle with sadness. And we often pray that God would comfort others in the midst of loss or sorrow.
But does God offer his comfort directly to the soul of the downcast? Certainly, he can. But in 2 Corinthians 7 the comfort comes to Paul through another, namely Titus. Titus came to Paul, and this coming was a comfort to Paul; in fact, he counted it as God’s comfort. Moreover, the comfort Titus extended to Paul was, in part at least, the encouragement that he was loved by the church at Corinth. In other words, God gave comfort, but he did it through means.
The application is simple but important. When we pray that God will comfort others, we should be ready to extend God’s comfort to them – to speak of God’s promises, extend God’s love and presence by our love and presence.
And this principle extends to so many areas. We pray that someone will come to faith in Christ, and while it’s possible that God will send an angel to proclaim the gospel directly to the person, it is far more likely that God is calling us to be His mouthpiece to extend the outward gospel call to the person we pray for. Or, we pray that someone will see the error of their ways and come to make wiser decisions; and it’s likely God is calling us to speak truth in love. We pray that God will meet the financial needs of someone we are close to; and it’s likely that God is calling us to be generous and be a part of God meeting that need.
That’s what it means to be God’s instruments, God’s vessels, God’s ministers…God’s people. Who has God been laying on your heart? How might you be an answer to the prayers you’ve been praying for them? How can you be a minister of God’s grace to others today?