"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." – 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)
It had been a long and beautiful day, and we had no real reason to argue. Yet, as my mom and I headed home after attending a loved one's wedding, we found ourselves in a heated debate. We were discussing something we probably actually agreed on, but due to fatigue and poor communication, there we were, each of us trying to have the last word. As we entered my neighborhood, our staccato words were interrupted by what sounded like someone sobbing.
We looked over to see a young man sitting on the sidewalk, crying out loud in the darkness. Without a second thought I pulled the car over and jumped out. My mother began to pray.
"What's wrong?" I asked as I approached. He was cradling his head in his arms, and without looking up, he said, "Nothing. I'm ... I'm alright."
"Please, can I do something for you?" Again, he resisted. "No. I'm OK."
"At least let me pray for you ... please," I begged.
He finally acquiesced with a quick nod. I prayed for him, and he quietly listened. Then I touched his arm and walked away. I never saw his face, and I still don't know who he was or why he was crying.
The discussion I had been having with my mom faded away into the night, suddenly irrelevant, as we thought about the young man and his despair, his aloneness, his hopelessness.
Perhaps the next day was different for him. Perhaps he realized God saw him and truly cared for him because he'd sent strangers to pray for him. Perhaps that comforting thought brought him some hope.
God needs us to spread comfort and encouragement that brings hope to others. Too often I'm caught up in my own little world, too busy to notice, too selfish to act. This Advent season, may we open our eyes to see the wondrous hope-filled assignments God has destined for us.
Written by Tabi Upton, co-host of the daily radio show, "Mornings with Tom and Tabi" on 88.9 Moody Radio Chattanooga.