Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 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. (2 Corinthians 1:2-3)
This verse is part of the opening of our funeral liturgy. When we suffer, God uses others who love us to support and console us through the grief. When others grieve, out of our experience of God consoling us in our grief, we find the reserves to comfort others in their pain.
Ultimately, Christianity only has real power in our lives when it confronts the places where we are incomplete or broken. Christianity is not about our strength, goodness, or competence. It may use those – after all God has gifted all of us. But the focus of Christ’s work is not to take advantage of what you have going right, but to heal, love and restore you in the places where life is going wrong. The message of Christianity is not that you are perfect or even can be perfect. The message of Christianity is that even when things are going wrong or when you are in the deepest place of grief and loss, God still loves you and is still working in your life.
So, this week think back on your life. Look at some of the places where you were sad, broken or grieving. Remember how painful it was at that moment. Then think about your journey forward from that point. How did God stay with you, support you and love you forward? Who did God use to console you in your sorrow? What did you learn about yourself, others and especially God?
Life is often difficult. The cross of Jesus tells us that, while we may wish it were easier, God is just as impacted by life and death issues as we are. The resurrection reminds us that God can and will get us through the most difficult of times and that life and love wins. So, the next time you are hurting, be as open to God’s comfort as you can. And the next time you know someone who is hurting, be as open to being an agent of consolation for them. God will use you to bring healing to others just as God has used others to bring healing to you.