When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19
“Consolation is a beautiful word. It means “to be” (con-) “with the lonely one” (solus). To offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness, and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation. We can and must console the mother who lost her child, the young person with AIDS, the family whose house burned down, the soldier who was wounded, the teenager who contemplates suicide, the old man who wonders why he should stay alive. To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, “You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Don’t be afraid. I am here.” That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as to receive it.”
Henry Nouwen in Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith (New York: Harper Collins, 1997) reading for 21 January.
“With you.” Those two words bring me great consolation. I am traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, today via San Francisco and Panama City. I find consolation on my long trips knowing Christ is with me. I listen for His whisper, “With you, Gary.”
We can offer others this same gift, but only after we ourselves have learned to receive it. Do you turn to God for consolation? He shares our sorrows, restores our spirit, and lifts our sights. He does this so we can console others.
Sometimes God has us traveling afar to be with people, which is my ministry. Other times, we console those close by, like my wife does. As we serve a generous God, all the time we can find consolation and joy in Him.
We also get to urge others to listen for His voice, which always says, “With you.”Read more