“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” 2 Corinthians 1:3

One of the greatest joys in life is visiting with long-time friends. Bill Dunn was my best friend and fishing partner in college. He visited us this past month which gave us an opportunity to talk about some past memories and experiences while enjoying God’s great outdoors.

During our time together, we fished one of our local lakes. Bill caught a nice pike. I’ve never seen Bill so worried about un-hooking a fish as he did that three-pound pike. When asked why he was being so careful with this chore, Bill reflected upon a trip he had taken with his brother to Canada where a pike had ruined his day.

Apparently, Bill and his brother Steve had flown into a remote lodge where they got into separate boats to try and locate the fish. Bill caught a pike and was in the process of taking one of the treble hooks out when the fish jumped. The radical movement embedded a set of treble hooks into each hand. With the subsequent movements of the fish, the barbs of the hooks penetrated to the bone at the base of both thumbs.

Bill was handcuffed by the lure. Every time he would try to make a move to free himself, the fish would jump creating more pain for my friend. After several minutes of agony and no way out of this predicament, Bill began yelling for his brother. Steve politely waved to Bill acknowledging that he could see the nice fish his brother caught. However, Bill’s persistent calls, finally registered with Steve that his brother had some kind of problem.

After applying the recommended American Red Cross first aid treatment for removing hooks, Bill was free from the constraining lure that attached him to the fish. He was relieved that freedom came because of his willingness to share his dilemma with someone who could help. His brother’s action to remove the lure saved the day and helped take the pain away.

And so it is with our pain. God intended that we share our concerns, fears, problems, frustrations, and worries with others. Even as I write this devotional, a dear friend just called asking for prayer; his pregnant daughter was just rushed to the hospital with premature contractions.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, “(He) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

People occasionally ask me, “Why should I go to church?” One of the key reasons is to have Christian fellowship. That fellowship is an important resource during those trying times. You need caring and praying people who love you unconditionally—that is part of what makes a good church.

There are many things that can handcuff us: financial concerns, death of a loved one, relationship issues, un-confessed sin, struggles at work, etc. Don’t let these issues deter you from receiving the love of God or the help of others.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Personal Application:

What is troubling you today? Have you shared it with a trusting friend? If not, why not?

In Matthew 5:4 we read, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We serve a God who loves to bless and comfort His children. He and those who love Him are a true source of comfort.

Jim Grassi, D. Min.