Common Ground

“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.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Image by Gisela Merkuur from Pixabay

I was typing away on my laptop lost in my to do list when I heard the exterior door to my office click open. I had no appointments scheduled and I was trying to meet a deadline, until a familiar voice I hadn’t heard in quite a while greeted me.

“Hi, Codie. Are you able to sign this purchase order?” Mark said.

“Mark. How are you?” I replied, “it’s so good to see you.”

Like many of us, Mark was among those who struggled to process the impacts of the pandemic, and as a result, I hadn’t seen him. He worked remote. He worked behind a closed door, limiting interactions. He insisted on a mask for as long as we have been navigating COVID. He was paralyzed by fear.

Today, not so much.

“I just got back from Orange County,” he said, knowing I am from Southern California.

“Did you go to Disneyland?” I asked, beaming a smile just thinking about the happiest place on earth.

“Three times!” he chimed, “and it was so much fun.”

We fell into conversation like old friends catching up at a high school reunion. We shared the highlights and challenges of the past year. It was common. Familiar. Comforting.

It is rare that we have experienced something every other human has experienced. The worldwide pandemic brought us so much closer together in this way. And today, I was able to comfort and be comforted by the comfort God poured into our lives in specific and unique ways.

It only takes a moment to find common ground when what we need most is to belong, to feel connected, and to recognize that we are not alone in our circumstances.

God also accomplished this for us when He sent His only Son to earth to understand life from our perspective. Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV) puts it this way, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

“My wife and I didn’t agree on vaccines at first,” he shared, “and it caused conflict. It was tough.”

“We struggled too since we have a blended family and have to share our decisions with my step-kids’ mom,” I reciprocated, “I think it was a struggle for all of us in some way.”

I signed the purchase order and Mark was on his way. But what stays with me is the sense of hope I feel knowing God sees us in our times of need. He is our great High Priest who understands. And He gave us each other as ambassadors of comfort, connection, and common ground.  

My Great High Priest, You knew I needed to be seen today. You knew I had words of comfort I could share. You orchestrated a moment of common ground that infused hope into what may have seemed like an ordinary day. Thank you for reminding us that You understand. Thank You for calling us to comfort one another with the comfort You have so generously given to us. May we maximize the moments You present to us. – Amen

Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

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This Little Light of Mine

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. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

I have struggled for over a week to put words together following a recent school shooting here in Colorado. The focus on this blog is hope and at times like this, I feel like we owe it to each other to just sit with one another without words like the friends that surrounded Job when he lost his home, his kids, and his health all at once. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him…they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:11-13)

Not only did our community and the families of the kids at the STEM School Highlands Ranch go through a horrific tragedy last week, this week we observed Peace Officer Memorial Day. Having lost one of our own Sheriff’s Deputies, Zack Parrish, a little over a year ago, people are overwhelmed, angry, hurting, outraged…insert a synonymous adjective…and as the pendulum swings, others are flat out numb.

Is it guns? Is it humans? Is it humans with guns? Is it evil? Is it mental illness? And is it ever going to stop?!

How does one sprinkle hope in situations like this, at times like this, in a society like this. The only way I know how to overcome darkness is to turn on the light -– like lighting a candle in a midnight black room, it creates a gentle glow. That gentle glow is what I endeavor to share with this post – kind of like when you attend a Christmas Eve church service and you pass the light of a small individual-sized candle repeatedly down each row, sharing the light until it fills the whole room.

Look for hope in the soft glow of a friends’ eyes reminding you they are with you in it, or share hope in a soft whisper of encouragement about the thing God carried you through. It’s like a San Diego ocean breeze lifting, just slightly, the discomfort of a sticky summer day.

It reminds me of mothers that pick up the habit of rocking back and forth on their hips, the motion they learn to use for comforting a crying baby. Even when our kids grow up, if there is a baby in the room, we are swaying right along with that mother like a Polynesian dancer. The rhythm of comfort is one that is learned, and it can become our hope habit in a world like this, in moments like this.

God comforts us so that we are able to comfort one another. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” the old Sunday school song goes. “Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”