By: Reverend J. Loren Russell

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

This coming Monday, January 17, the nation will commemorate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We will look back at the ultimate sacrifice he made, giving his life during some of the most stressful and tumultuous times in our nation’s history. We recall the tensions, the racism, the fear, and the hatred that saturated the nation during that time. For instance, we remember the grief and sorrow that came from the beatings, the lynching(s), and the riots. We also remember the hope that made people endure those wrongdoings so that freedom would become a reality. We recall the great speeches made by Dr. King, eloquently decrying the status quo, and promoting the ideals found in The Declaration of Independence; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Dr. King was committed to making that promise made, into a promise kept.

Dr. King understood the blessings that come from the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. In his final speech before his assassination, he declared, “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promise Land!” Dr. King comforted others with those reassuring words that reflected the comfort which he himself never experienced, but knew would come from the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.

In a more personal way, January 17 brings back memories of the day my mother died. It will be fifty years since that fateful day, a day that will forever be etched in my memory. The grief and sorrow that my family and I experienced that day seemed to me like a thousand-pound weight was pressing against my heart. As the days, weeks, months, and years rolled on, it seemed like that weight would never be lifted. Although I still, to this day, easily recall the pain, the frustration, the feelings of helplessness, I also remember the comfort of a loving father who said to my siblings and I, “We’re a family. We are going to stick together!” His words reflected the promised blessings Paul told the church at Corinth comes from the God of all comfort. Now, I know how to comfort others who are going through their own personal trials, tribulations, grief, and sorrow.

The New Living Translation interprets the text; “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”. This interpretation teaches us that “blessed people, bless people!” We are comforted so we can be comforting.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at www.smashwords.com/books/view/993177)

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