Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FOURTEEN
ORBIT – DAY SIXTY-SEVEN
Welcome to another Orbit – a way to spend a few minutes each day with God. Each weekday we’ll look at a short passage from the Bible, have an opportunity to pray and reflect, and then be challenged with one practical way of responding to God’s word. We really hope these will be helpful – if you miss one, don’t worry, you can either catch up… or just miss one!
BIBLE READING – 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Today we start a new book of the Bible on Orbit, looking at Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth. Not only was his first letter the longest of all his epistles, he actually comes back for more. Decide for yourself whether the Corinthian church was his favourite… or the one which needed the most help!
Paul begins this second letter by introducing a new way of talking about God: as the God of all comfort. After the year and a half that we have all experienced, comfort is something that we all desperately need, and sometimes find to be in short supply. We might have experienced anxiety, grief and loss, pain and even depression over the last year – there is no doubt that it has been the hardest that any of us can remember. Through it all, God has been with us; even if we haven’t been able to physically see or sense the fact at the time. When we look back – as we will in a moment – we can almost always see where he has been present and at work even in the toughest situations.
Paul promises that this God of all comfort, the “father of compassion”, comforts us in all our troubles. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he instantly makes us feel better in every situation that is difficult, but it does mean that his Spirit is at work in us, sometimes silently and on the inside, ensuring that we are able to hold it together.
But Paul doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say that we are comforted so that we are then able to comfort others. God’s presence in us gives us the strength to become a support to the people around us. He is the great comforter, but by spending time with him and receiving his healing and comfort, we too are able to share it with others. It’s as if – if this isn’t too inappropriate a metaphor – we catch the positive virus of his comfort by spending time with him, and are then able to spread it to others.
Finally, Paul says something really interesting. In his letters, he often reminds the church that we share in the suffering of Christ – that we too will be persecuted, and sometimes lose out because of our faith in him. But it turns out that there is another side to that coin: we also share in Christ’s power to comfort. By being aligned to and unified with Christ, we not only receive his comfort, but also become agents of love and compassion to a hurting world. We – in a sense – become Jesus to other people.
In an aircraft safety demonstration, we are always reminded to put our own oxygen masks on first before helping someone else. It seems that that is the pattern here too: God doesn’t want us to try to sort out our friends without first dealing with her own hurts. He wants to comfort us, the children that he loves so much, first. Only then are we equipped to go out and spread his comfort to those around us.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
God of compassion and comfort, I acknowledge my deep need for you today. Please take my anxieties, my fears and my hurts – restore me and cleanse me. Please comfort me fully, so that I might be a source of comfort to those around me who really need to know your love right now. Amen.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Following that thought, that we need to receive comfort before we can distribute it, take some time to reflect on the last year (you might find it helpful to have a pen and paper to make some notes). Where has God been most obviously present? When are the times that he felt absent? As you look back now with the benefit of hindsight, are you able to see where he might have been working behind the scenes all along? Be honest with yourself, and with God – he’s big enough to take your doubts! Pray that God would continue to comfort you as you process the extraordinary trauma of the last year.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!