‘God…comforts us…so that we can comfort [others].’ 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NIV
A century ago a lady visited an American orphanage and asked the matron, ‘Is there a child here nobody has offered to adopt?’ The matron replied, ‘There is. Her name is Mercy Goodfaith. She’s ten years old, not much to look at, and has a hunchback.’ The lady said, ‘That’s the child I want!’ 35 years later the director of the Orphanage Inspection Department in Iowa submitted the following report on a state-run facility: ‘This home is outstanding. It’s clean, the food’s good, the children are well cared-for, and the atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The matron, Mercy Goodfaith, has a soul that oozes love; she has such beautiful eyes I forgot how homely her face was—or that she was a hunchback.’ Because a Good Samaritan had the courage to love and nurture a little girl others overlooked, Mercy Goodfaith went on to share that same love with hundreds of other orphans.
Paul says, ‘God… comforts us… so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we… received.’ (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NIV) And Billy Graham adds: ‘Those who have suffered the most are best able to comfort others …to empathise with [their] afflictions because of what they’ve experienced… Our sufferings may be hard to bear, but our goal should be to learn all we can from what we’re called to endure so we can fulfil a ministry of comfort as Jesus did. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18 NIV) The sufferer becomes the comforter in the service of the Lord.