Early in my counseling practice, a friend asked me to train his fellow church members how to do what I do. The event blessed so many people I began to conduct the training regularly. When some of my counseling clients signed up, I began to ask if that was okay. If they themselves were struggling, should they be helping other people? I wondered. Then I saw a miracle.
I’ll call her Evie. She originally came as a client, and I treated her for depression. Or I should say I tried to treat her, because she really didn’t improve. But she came to the Abide Helper Training in which I train people how to be helpers (as opposed to helpees). And then she dramatically improved. I think her depression had gouged her self-respect. When she saw that should could still help other people, even though not fully recovered herself, her sense of value returned to her. And in the process of helping other people she saw ways out of her own depression.
We comfort others with the comfort we receive from God. But it doesn’t always happen sequentially, as in, “God helped me, now I’ll help you.” In fact, because it distracts me from what may have become an unhealthy self-focus, me helping you can actually clear out the channel for God helping me.
As God comforts us, we become equipped to comfort others. Our struggles sensitize us to their struggles and give us a wealth of grace to share. Think of one tribulation in your life where God became your comfort. Now think of someone in a similar situation who might benefit from the simple story of how God helped you. Make a note to share your story with that person.
Oh, God of all comfort. Open our eyes to the suffering around us so that we can become, not hoarders of your comfort, but conduits of it to as many people as you bring within our sphere of influence. Use us we pray, Jesus. Amen.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4