There’s a verse in 2 Corinthians 7:6 that says “Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus…”
To give some context, the apostle Paul and his companions were in Macedonia, and were troubled on every side. As they awaited news about the brand new christians in Corinth, their bodies had no rest, and they were full of fear amid conflicts, not to mention the over hanging threat of persecution. I find it strangely comforting that the great apostle Paul needed a little comforting!
It shows that even with all the miracles that Paul had seen and experienced, he was human and was prone to feeling downcast in this particular moment! But God hadn’t abandoned him just because he was feeling low, and God doesn’t abandon us either when we’re feeling that way! But He might turn up in a way we don’t expect.
So how did God comfort Paul? By sending his friend Titus to him in Macedonia.
Thankfully we don’t need to travel via boat or by foot on a difficult and perilous journey in order to bring someone personal comfort like Titus had to. In our modern world we have the convenience of planes, cars, phones, or social media. The covid pandemic has of course made travel or even social contact harder in many respects, but we can apply the same principle of willingness which Titus had…we can be willing to be a little inconvenienced, to put aside a little time, to put in a little effort, in order to be the hands and feet bringing comfort and consolation to someone who God has layed on our heart. And there are creative ways we can do it!
It has been a humbling experience being the recipient of heart comfort during recent months when at times I was feeling a little downcast. Due to cancer treatment my world has shrunk. Extended leave from work for a year. Limited catch-ups with friends or family due to the low immunity brought on by chemotherapy. No public outings for the same reason. Add the uncertainty of co-vid outbreaks and snap lock-downs. Often, nobody sees or knows the personal struggles we experience except God.
But time after time just at the right heart moments, God has brought me comfort through the actions of a “Titus.”
Some examples of this have been the arrival of flowers or cards speaking encouragement, friends who send a timely message just saying hi, an unexpected gift arriving in the mail, someone from church delivering a frozen meal, interstate relatives coming to visit, unexpected messages from some people I barely know, good friends popping in, or receiving a text with a link to a song, quote, or sermon that is just what I needed to hear at the time.
These seem like small things. But the God who sees hearts speaks to hearts in order to send comfort. Of course God also speaks comfort directly through His Holy Spirit and through His Word, but He understands the value of human connection and delights to give us comfort through the creative expression of others. Maybe it’s different for you, but I have personally found that the most meaningful expression of comfort has been when somebody has been able to visit. For me there is something about being able to interact face to face that brings an added level of feeling connected and loved.
Never under estimate the positive difference it can make to someone’s spirit when you respond to that inner voice prompting you to pay a visit and just be present. Or to call and say hi how are you doing? Or to arrange a Facetime video or send a text message just letting them know you’re thinking of them. Be creative! I received a hilarious video from two of my closest friends reciting a rap they’d made up on the spot right at a time when I needed a good laugh! Now that was creative!
God is the God that sees. He loves to bring comfort and encouragement through people.
I’d love to hear in the comments below about a time that comfort came your way when you least expected it but most needed it!