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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”— 2 Corinthians 1:4a (NLT)
Has anyone ever told you to “pay it forward”? If you’re unfamiliar with the expression, it describes “the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.” An example of this would be someone in front of you in line at your local coffee shop buying your beverage, so you do the same for the person behind you, and so on. It’s helping others because someone helped you.
The term “pay it forward” seems to have come into existence 100 years ago in Lily Hardy Hammond’s 1916 book In the Garden of Delight, but the idea behind it is much older. In fact, it’s something we see in the Scriptures. Our verse today is the perfect example, as the apostle Paul tells us that the Lord wants us to pay comfort forward. We are comforted by God—given a peace that surpasses understanding, a hope that does not disappoint, and an eternal security that can never be taken from us—and God wants us to go to share that with others, so that they can experience His love, mercy, grace, and comfort, too!
Regarding this verse, theologian Charles Ellicott wrote, “For the writer, the name ‘God of all comfort’ was the outcome of a living personal experience. He had felt that ever-continuing comfort flowing into his soul, and he knew that it had not been given to him for his own profit only, but that it might flow forth to others.”
Every time I read this verse, it just reaffirms in my heart that our experiences really do have a God-ordained purpose. In Romans 5:3-4 (NLT), Paul encourages us by saying, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” James (the author of the Book of Hebrews), Peter, and Jesus Himself also share similar sentiments.
My friends, please know that God can use our triumphs and tragedies, our brightest days and darkest nights, our highest highs and lowest lows. He shares in the joy of mountaintop moments and He comforts us in the valley seasons. And He uses these experiences to shape our character and endurance, build us up, bring us closer to Him, shine His light in and through us, and bring glory to His name. More importantly, He wants to use them to bring others into His family.
So as you examine everything the Lord has done for you, don’t forget to pay it forward!
DIG: Read 2 Corinthians 7 and 1 Peter 1.
DISCOVER: Has anyone ever used their experiences to comfort you or share in your pain with you? Have you ever helped someone by using your similar experiences?
DISPLAY: Over the next few weeks, be on the lookout for someone you can share your experiences with. Find ways to pay forward all that the Lord has taught you, carried you through, and done in your life.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.