For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus. 2 Cor. 7:5-6
Dear heavenly Father, the incidental pictures in the Scriptures are often as profound as the intentional promises. This story of a restless, fearful, afflicted Paul, experiencing your comfort through the care of a good friend, is very encouraging.
Thank you, Father, for reminding me even that your most faithful servants (like Paul)—those who know you the best, whose grasp of the gospel is a gazillion times better than mine—even these men and women experience restlessness, fear, and weariness.
At times I still labor under the myth of unlimited resources, semi-omni-competence and “should-ness”. If I just prayed enough, believed enough, or was filled with the Spirit enough, I would never get discouraged or downcast. If I “really” loved Jesus, I shouldn’t be less than a conqueror. What a spiritual lie, baseless burden, and gnostic distortion of the gospel.
Thank you for comforting us when we’re downcast. You don’t deride us, chide us, or hide from us—you comfort us. You are “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). And thank you for the comforters you send us. Though you’re quite capable of sending ravens and rainbows as gifts of comfort, more often than not, you send a Titus to a Paul, or a Phoebe to a Paul (Rom. 16:1). You love to tell your story through your people.
Father, on this Lord’s Day morning, help me to be honest about my weakness, expectant of your comfort, and thankful for your provision. And make me sensitive to the needs of others around me. In my weakness, I may be of more good to them than when I feel “on top of my game.” Who needs a word of comfort, encouragement, and hope from another weary traveler? Show me, Father, and send me. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ near and compassionate name.