In their book Dear Mrs. Kennedy, Jay Mulvaney and Paul De Angelis note that during the weeks following the assassination of US President John Kennedy, his widow, Jacqueline, received nearly one million letters from people in every part of the world. Some came from heads of state, celebrities, and close friends. Others were sent by ordinary people who addressed them to “Madame Kennedy, Washington” and “Mrs. President, America.” All wrote to express their grief and sympathy for her great loss.
When people suffer and we long to help, it’s good to recall Paul’s word-picture of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Our heavenly Father is the ultimate source of every tender mercy, kind word, and helpful act that brings encouragement and healing. Bible scholar W. E. Vine says that paraklesis—the Greek word translated “comfort”—means “a calling to one’s side.” The words comfort and consolation appear repeatedly in today’s Bible reading as a reminder that the Lord holds us close and invites us to cling to Him.
As the Lord wraps His loving arms around us, we are able to embrace others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (v.4).
Father, thank You for letting us share with You
our worries and cares. We’re grateful that You
stand beside us to comfort and guide. Help us
to console others as You look out for Your own.
God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
So often we ask why God allows a hurtful experience to come our way. Today’s reading provides us with at least one very plausible reason for the pain. We are comforted in our afflictions so that we might comfort others in theirs (v.4). Hearing of the faithfulness of God in trials uplifts others who suffer.