Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

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There’s a Hole in My Bucket

Well, it’s Day Two of The Life I Didn’t Choose’s Scripture Journal Challenge. And, I’m still on track! (It really is all about small victories.)

Today’s verse is one that I found after Brooke’s accident and has become one of my favorite scripture verses:

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 come we ourselves received from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

The progression of comfort flows from God to us and then to others. Pretty simple concept to grasp. Yet, it only dawned on me for the first time (after literally hundreds of times reading this passage) – God’s comfort is intended for us, but it’s not meant for us.

Like manna from heaven, God’s comfort is endless – it abounds through Christ. It’s never gonna run out. We should accept it for ourselves, but we must pour it out to those around us.

God’s comfort is meant to be given away. We receive the comfort that we need and then we pass it along to the next person and the next and the next.

But that isn’t what we tend to do. Is it? I’m guilty of (at least) two trespasses where comfort is concerned. First, I tend to adopt the prideful attitude that says, “I can take care of myself. Step back. Let me show you how this grieving thing is done.”

Paul is reminding the Corinthians, and it applies as well today as then, that comfort is a team sport. There’s no “I” in comfort. We are incapable of self-soothing life’s sucker punches.

We are all like buckets needing to be filled with comfort. Yet, when we try to take care of ourselves, it is more like shutting off our buckets with a tight lid. That lid prevents comfort from being poured into our buckets. Buckets do not fill from the inside out.

We must lift the lid and open ourselves to the comfort that will fill us from the outside in. We must look outside our buckets to be comforted. First to God and then to others.

The other trap that trips me up – I cave to the notion that my own bucket must be overflowing before I have the capacity to comfort others. I plug up all of the holes in my bucket and wait for comfort to brim over. I stay really busy patching holes and trying to make my bucket all shiny for the world to see.

God does not equip us to repair our own buckets; He equips us to repair the buckets of others. It’s kinda like going to the hair salon. The hairdresser can make us look awesome from every angle. Yet, when I try to duplicate the style at home, the back of my head looks the time toddler Brooke cut her own hair. Just as a hairdresser can see us from different angles, others can see us from different angles. And, if we open our eyes – we can see others from all new angles.

Comforting works best when we ask God to provide us with a heart. His range of vision is perfect. He sees all of the hurts. Our capacity overflows when we seek to see through His lens.

What are we waiting for?

Dear Father, Give us a heart to see like you see. Give us your Spirit to comfort the broken-hearted. Give us the strength and humility to lift the lid from our own buckets to constantly be fed with your endless comfort that abounds through your son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for filling our buckets with an overflow of your comfort – even when it seems as if we leak more than we overflow. This we pray through. Amen!