ODJ: full-circle compassion

February 27, 2016 

READ: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 

[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others (v.4).

Following a tumultuous season in her life, Bethany Haley Williams battled with shame and brokenness. The journey was difficult, but through Jesus she experienced healing that transformed her life.

Prompted by the grace and mercy she received, Bethany formed Exile International, a nonprofit that implements art/expressive therapy and long-term, rehabilitative care to restore and empower war-affected children—including children rescued from the dreaded Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa. In her book The Color of Grace: How One Woman’s Brokenness Brought Healing and Hope to Child Survivors of War, Bethany writes, “When your greatest heartache becomes your greatest ministry, grace comes full circle.”

Bethany now devotes her life to living out these words: “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” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Regardless of where we live, our social status, or our circumstances, we can rest assured that God knows about our suffering and misfortunes. He’s with us in the pain. God is merciful, loving, and attentive to our needs. Whether our suffering comes from persecution, disease, or emotional hurts, He can use what we experience to lift up and help others who are in need. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “When we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you” (v.6).

No matter what we’ve done or what we’re facing, God is there to shower us with His unfailing love and compassion—gifts we can then share with others.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day-plan: Joshua 1:1-18

Read Isaiah 41:10 and consider the comfort that God alone can provide. 
How have you experienced God’s presence and comfort when you’ve gone through difficult times? Who can you comfort today—pouring out the comfort you’ve received from your heavenly Father?