All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
I have delayed writing this morning for no other reason than it simply requires a great deal of emotional energy today. As I write I am grieving for two families. Families who are dear friends to my wife and I. Families who are both suffering the tragedy of loss today. Just a few short weeks ago both families were celebrating the expectancy of new life coming into their families. One family expecting their first, the other expecting their third. And in the span of three days, both have suffered loss at the hands of miscarriage.
There are no adequate words for this day, but if some could be said, these seem fitting: “I hate it when things like this happen. I do not like this world.” All too wise for her young years my eldest daughter proclaimed this sentiment through tears hot with anger and wet with grief far too large for her small heart.
This world is broken—as are all who live in it. And we suffer at the hands of tragedy and pain and loss. It’s not how it was meant to be. It’s simply how it is. Sin has wrought devastation and it breaks the heart to see people hurting with grief. They are suffering and we cannot make it right.
It is now that they need God’s comfort showered on them. This is the best we can offer them. Along with tears and hugs. Alongside an ear to listen and the meals brought to simplify the all too large and looming daily tasks. Above it all and through it all we call out for God’s comfort to come.
It is amazing how God is working even before the tragedy strikes. It shouldn’t be amazing—we know he is in control and knows all things. And yet it is. A God so magnificent and supreme invested in orchestrating the little things to bring comfort and assurance and wisdom in the midst of our tragedies.
Could it be considered coincidence that a sermon—planned weeks and weeks ago—could be on the topic of suffering the very day that a church body wrestles with these tragedies and seeks to understand how to love well and grieve with our beloved brothers and sisters? I suppose it could be—if we did not know the Father of mercy and source of all comfort.
How do we grieve well when others are hurting?
What does it look like to come along side without easy answers and trite explanations?
How do we love well for the long grief, not just the immediate sting of tragedy?
God is at work here. And in the midst of anger at brokenness and death we find comfort and assurance that he is able, whatever is needed. When we are sensing loss and hurting from our wounds, we have God who comforts. More than words, more than distractions to dull the pain, more than pushing it down so time can give us distance, this is what we hope in: a God who comforts the soul.
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle…