The Upper Room Devotion for Tuesday, August 29, 2023, was written by Shelia Meador of North Carolina.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. 6 If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NRSV
At a company holiday event, my husband and I arrived early to get seats near the speakers. I wanted to sit close so I could read the speaker's lips because my hearing aids only help so much. Another employee and his wife sat with us. As we introduced ourselves and began to share a little about our lives, I mentioned my hearing impairment. The woman said she was losing her hearing and didn't know what to do next. I didn't have to think about what to say; God gave me the words. I was able to comfort her as God had comforted me when I found out I was going deaf. Since that night, God has given me the words to encourage several other people, even about struggles other than hearing impairments.
A few years later, I was reading 2 Corinthians. When I came to today's quoted scripture, I became excited. This is what God had been doing in my life! In my struggles I knew that God was there for me because of the promises in God's word. God comforts us so that we can do the same for others. I give thanks for God's comfort and pass it on.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
As we endure challenges and obstacles, the encouraging words of trusted friends and family are invaluable. Yet, we don't need to have a personal relationship with someone in order to encourage them. Shelia's reflection reminds us to make ourselves available for God to use us to offer comfort to others who may be enduring a struggle we've already weathered. I invite you to re-read Shelia's reflection and commit to allow God to use you to encourage someone today.
God of compassion, thank you for comforting us. Guide us to comfort others in your name. Amen.