“It is easy enough to say a great many beautiful things about God being the God of all comfort; but unless we know what it is to be really and truly comforted ourselves, we might as well talk to the winds. People must read in our lives what they hear in our words, or all our preaching is worse than useless.” (from God of All Comfort by Hannah Whitall Smith)
Here’s a beautiful thing: the men and women coming out of our recovery programs do know what it is “to be really and truly comforted.” Their firsthand experience with the God of all comfort is evident in their lives, and through them, that comfort spreads far beyond the four walls of the Mission.
Sheldon and Rowdy, featured in this month’s newsletter, came to the end of themselves. Sheldon was riding the bus day and night to stay warm. Rowdy went into the bathroom of a Las Vegas casino and put a pistol in his mouth. Both men faced the emptiness of everything the world has to offer and in utter desperation cried out to God.
God answered. He led both Sheldon and Rowdy, by different routes, to the Union Gospel Mission, and here, through the healing environment you have helped to create, God lavished comfort upon them. They found food, shelter, clothing, showers and medical care. They found acceptance within a community. They found people willing to listen and counselors with words of wisdom. They found hope that life could be something more than it had always been. Most importantly, they found their new identity in Christ.
Here’s how Sheldon described the comfort: “I found out there were people that actually loved me and cared about me. I’ve never had that my whole life.”
As Sheldon finishes the UGM program, he’s looking for ways to comfort others with the comfort he has been given: “God has given me purpose and significance in my life, not to hoard for myself, but to share with others – to show them the same grace and love and compassion that He’s shown me. That’s my duty, to be as Christ like as possible.”
Think about how the comfort you are providing is being multiplied over and over as our guests go out into the world and seek to share what they have experienced.
“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 comfort we ourselves receive from God,” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.