If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:1-5
I realize that Valentine’s Day is behind us, but the spirit of the day remains. Valentine’s Day gets so much attention emphasizing gifts for that special person. Now I am not beyond accepting flowers or a box of gourmet dark chocolates, even if it is the day after. I once shared how Mark gave me a heart-shaped box of chocolate the day after Valentine’s Day and proudly announced that it was half-priced. Knowing how practical Mark can be I realized that it was something he wouldn’t ordinary buy and that made it a special gift of love because he made the effort to get it for me.
While Valentine’s Day often comes with a price tag, there are gifts that don’t carry a monetary value. The most precious gifts of all involve giving ones’ self. I realized this once more last week when I wound up in the hospital.
Even though my friends live very busy lives, they took the time to come see me in the hospital. Some brought gifts to cheer me, others brought books for me to read, but all of them brought the gift of their presence. Some were unable to come to the hospital but called me on the phone or sent cards.
I later learned I was on several prayer chains throughout the state. I was so moved by how many people cared enough to pray, especially the ones that don’t even know me. The list goes on and on of how people cared. There were many little acts of kindness that arrived when I really needed someone to comfort me.
One such incident came when I suddenly became very weak and was in a great deal of pain. The nurse had put me back to bed and was preparing to give me a shot. I was shaking violently and crying so hard I couldn’t see. Right at that moment someone came in to see me. When they saw what I was going through they gently took my hand and started praying for me. While I can’t remember all of the words, I can remember how comforting that prayer was.
I later learned that when the nurse came in to give me a shot, they went and called Mark to tell him he was needed at the hospital. They came back in and took my hand once more and kept praying. Soon another friend came in and took over holding my hand and started praying as well.
I was quickly asleep resting in the peace of those prayers. I know without a doubt that God sent those friends at that very moment to comfort me.
There are all types of love from romantic love to the love of Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to help another member of the Christian family in need. Each one uses their specific gifts that God gave them and should never think their gift is more or less important than another because it takes everyone to fulfill the commands Jesus Christ gave to comfort others as God comforts us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”. Peter also talks about these virtues in 2 Peter 1:1-8.
There are so many ways we can comfort someone. After I got home, some friends brought in food. All of my true friends did what they could to help during my illness. Sometimes all we can do is pray for the needs of our friends and their family. The main thing is to do something, whatever the Lord leads you to do. Allow me to sum it up with 1 Peter 3:8-9 in the New Living Translation. “ Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude… That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it”.