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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all Comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5

This passage reveals a secret of being a successful minister.   God wants to comfort us when we are hurting!  It is His compassion for our difficulty that brings His comfort to us.  The comfort He provides to us in our hurt develops compassion in us for others who are hurting.  It is therefore imperative that we receive this comfort from Him to be an effective minister and have compassion for another.

As Christians who minister, we are on the front lines of a spiritual battle.   We are like the medic who is trying to give aid in order to enable the wounded soldier to heal and be ready for battle again.  People come to us for this hope and renewed strength.  How can we give this comfort to another unless we have received it ourselves?  Only if we have compassion for another, can we give comfort to another.

Sometimes it is hard though, because of the trials and difficulties of life, we can get discouraged.  There are times that we can even feel discouraged inside and not know it consciously.  Usually it is the people who are closest that tell us something does not seem right.  It is often visible by our negative actions and reactions towards others. We can unwittingly communicate our hurt to the one being ministered to, which becomes counterproductive in our desire to minister.  We can end up hurting the ones we set out to love.

The Lord cares about our spiritual and emotional condition and wants to minister to our emotional pain.  He wants to renew our compassion for others by ministering to us in our difficulty.  The healthier that we are spiritually and emotionally, the more He can use us to help others.  Sometimes in our desire to help others we can neglect what God wants to do in us.  In the counseling office we see the results of burnout because of unbalance in this area.  He does not need us to be a minister; He wants us to be a minister!

Our compassion can be renewed by working on our inner condition with God and allowing others to minister to us.  This can be humbling, and some conditions and feelings take time, and are difficult to work through.  I want to encourage you to continue to push forward in this work.  The outcome from the process will revitalize your ministry.  When we are experiencing a right relationship with God, our joy will overflow and others will want to know more.  This is ministering and healing to the one who is hurting. 

Through His compassion for us in our difficulty, we will be comforted.  As we are comforted by Him, we will have true compassion and be able to give comfort to another in need.

                                            In Him, Dave


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