One winter, our two preschoolers had the flu. After being up several nights, I began to get weary and discouraged, wondering if I was doing the right things as a mom, and when their deliverance would come. On the fourth morning, our four-year-old’s fever broke. He came into the living room, sat next to me, draped his little arm around my shoulder, looked deeply into my eyes, and said, “Mom, you are such a blessing to me!” Those comforting, encouraging words lifted my heart, renewed my strength, and reminded me that deliverance was right around the corner. At a young age, our son was following God’s example that he had been taught, offering comfort and encouragement.
God wants us to enjoy a victorious life. His comfort and encouragement help provide this and help us stand in the challenges He knows we will face in this life. God gives us comfort and encouragement, and He wants us to do the same for others so that all of His children can live victoriously, established in their Father’s care.
God gives us comfort and encouragement because He wants us to enjoy life more abundantly, not just merely exist.
…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Jesus Christ came so we could have life more abundantly, with all its beauty, tenderness, variety. Vitality, good health, strength, prosperity, victory—he came to bring all this and more. Encouragement and comfort were part of God’s plan in sending Jesus Christ. God provides this for us, and we follow His example and do the same for others.
II Corinthians 1:3,4:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
In these two verses alone, forms of the word “comfort” are used five times. Three times the word is translated from the Greek word parakaleō, which means to encourage, strengthen, comfort, and exhort. God encourages us, and we are there to encourage others in both good times and challenging times. Encouragement can come in many forms—the kind words of even a preschooler, a warm smile, a bless note—however it comes, it will always comfort and establish us and help close the door on worry, doubt, and fear.
From God’s viewpoint, it is very important for us to offer comfort and encouragement to others, establishing them.
For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.
In verse 1, the word “conflict” is translated from the Greek word agōn, which means care or concern. It is associated in Greek literature with athletes who compete in the Olympics. They were shown great care and concern so they could compete at their maximum potential and be victorious. Paul had great care for the believers, and we build this care one for another into our lives. Why do we need to have this care for each other? The answer is found in Colossians 2:2. We have this care for people so that their hearts might be comforted and encouraged.
I Thessalonians 3:2,3:
And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:
That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
Paul sent his best, Timothy, to establish, exhort, comfort, and encourage when they were under affliction. To “establish” means to be made firm and solid in God’s Word. When we are firm and solid in that heart of God expressed in His Word, the natural result is that we will be comforted, encouraged, and exhorted.
We can provide comfort and edification for one another in many ways, but it always starts with God and the comfort He gives us. As we reach out with a kind word, a loving smile, a tender note, we can help others to be established and victorious, even among the pressures that life will bring. Their hearts are sure to sing, “You are such a blessing to me!”