Surprised by Comfort

“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.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Alarm clock buzzing, coffee brewing, school bus singing, children shuffling between classes, laughter rising, and knowledge tested.

One house. One man. One purpose. Many lives.

On a fall morning in Middle Tennessee with leaves tipped in orange crush, one man rolls out of bed though not as easily because the cancer makes his muscles stiff. The things that used to be effortless now are difficult. Though he is unable to go to his job, he remains resolute to show up everyday with a grateful spirit. Some days are better than others. He may not be the teacher who greets his students each morning, but his influence lives on in the halls as students recount the ways he has impacted their lives. This morning the students planned the surprise of his life.

“It looks like a line of cars for a football game or concert.”

“Did we miss an invitation to neighbor’s gathering?”

“Where are all these people going?”

“Maybe it is a garage sale? No, it is not Saturday.”

“Did you hear that?”

“What?”

Walking closer to the front windows, the singing got louder. Then his eyes fell upon a sea of students, teachers, and staff, just over 400 covering his front lawn, and their song filled the air of that quiet neighborhood as far as one could hear.

Tears streamed down he and his wife’s faces. Their whole bodies bathed in the sweetest love and comfort that they had ever known. No words could be uttered at that moment. God’s comfort might be a still small voice, and then at other times, it might be an overwhelming comfort, like this teacher’s experience. Now, this was the Christian community being the hands and feet of Christ. We often miss out on the way God intended a life of faith to be lived because we are so divided rather than united as the body of believers. Who do you know facing hardship or sick? How can your faith community unite to show love and comfort?

-Mary Carmen Englert

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