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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Late one night last week my wife and I got a call from one of our daughters.  This one is a new mom whose 1-month old had been screaming for hours.  Clearly she was outmatched and needed professional help.  (I am sure many moms reading this can remember a similar experience.)  Fortunately, we live nearby and I was able to deliver my wife to the scene of the emergency in just a few minutes. 

When we arrived, the poor baby was inconsolable, our daughter was distraught, and dad appeared to be surplus to requirements.  Then something extraordinary happened.  My wife used what can only be described as “grandmother-skills” to calm the baby down, put her to sleep, and convince my daughter that she is, in fact, a great mom.  I was extremely impressed!

How did my wife know what to do when my daughter, who loves her baby more than her own life, did not?  Practice, that’s how.  She has spent years of her life comforting screaming infants.  My wife raised all three of our children (with precious little help from me I am ashamed to confess) and has faced many a night of screaming babies.  She has experimented, observed, listened and learned how to provide comfort to a child in distress.  Now she knows.

The whole experience got me thinking about how God comforts us in all our afflictions and then enables us to share that comfort with all around us.  The problem is that just because we received God’s comfort doesn’t mean we know how to share it.  It takes practice, failed attempts, and maybe a few embarrassing moments before we can learn how to care for someone in distress.  You don’t learn this stuff overnight.  You learn it over years of practice. 

God bless all the grandmothers but this isn’t just about rescuing our daughters and grandbabies in distress.  Everyone I know needs comfort for one thing or another.  Everyone in my family, my office, my church, and my neighborhood has suffered some kind of affliction.  We have received the comfort of Christ.  Will we not invest the time to learn how to share it? 

This week, let’s lay down our pride and our fear of getting involved and practice the art of sharing God’s comfort.  If you make a misstep, apologize and learn from it.  Freely we received.  Let’s freely give.