COMFORT YOUR HEARTS
J. Grant Swank, Jr.
"Comfort your hearts and stablish you in every good word and work." II Thessalonians 2:l7
The greatest comfort you can give another believer is not to take the cross from his shoulders but to share in the cross journey.
Sometimes we see a friend in trouble of soul and so we immediately start to play God the healer. We attempt every means possible to get that person out of pain.
That may not be what is needed at that time. What may be needed is comfort on the cross way rather than removing the cross on the way.
The cross way has already taught you how to draw closer to your Yoke-fellow. So it is in most believers' lives. They too are learning from Him. "Learn of Me."
Therefore, to interrupt Jesus' lesson giving by your comforting unwisely is not helpful.
God knows when to bring pain release. Then it may be that you are to let God be God.
What you can do in providing solace is to relate what you yourself have learned in carrying the daily cross. That will mean more than you shifting the cross off your friend's shoulders onto the ground.
Explain how you at first bulked at the cross, came to embrace it, now would not desert it for any other loyalty. Tell how you have come to realize that the cross is indeed a grace gift provided for the maturing of the spirit.
Then let the Spirit work through your God-inspired words rather than your fleshly words taking over to bring immediate aid to another believer.
In this age when so much accent is placed on reaching out to help someone--and within the church there is such a surge of counseling and psychological this and that--it often occurs that well-meaning individuals take the cross from disciple's shoulders instead of leaving the cross there for further mentoring. Jesus may have another chapter in the text to reveal to that believer; you then must not close the book on that chapter.
"Comfort your hearts. . ." is written within a letter in which Paul gives forth with plenty of pain sharing rather than pain relieving. Paul learned early how to do that for Paul knew the value of the daily cross. He would not then want to take away the cross in order to appear as an instant healer.
And neither would you.