“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the spirit…” (Phil 2:1-2)

One of the sweetest times for me during the Slovakia trip is to connect deeply with team members. While I do connect with students, it is often relationships with folks on the team that last throughout the years. We share our lives with each other, joys and heart-aches, deeply personal things as well as not-so-personal things. The fellowship between members is very rich.

Our devotional today focused on the idea of comfort in the context of pain. I have been reflecting on this idea of comfort because in the last 24 hours I have been both the recipient of comfort and the giver of comfort.

What does it look like? How do we know we have received it or given it away? Psalm 119:49-50 points to the idea of God’s hope and a few verses later in 76-77, God’s unfailing love is mentioned. Hope and love. As I grieve loss, I am comforted by hope and love. Hope that God has a plan, even when I can’t see and a belief that He loves me no matter what happens. I receive this from my Heavenly Father, who also helps me recognize that the care and love from my teammates is a physical expression of a spiritual reality. The kind words, the hugs, the tears, and just the presence of others show Hope and Love.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 then compels us to remember that when we receive comfort, we are to pass it on. We pass on Hope and Love: Hope that we go through hard times for a reason and a belief that God’s love never ends no matter what.

As we serve others in Slovakia, we also give and receive comfort to/from our teammates. It is truly a blessing to share our lives with others.