2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) states,
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
In all our troubles…
While teaching comes with many joys and rewards, it also comes with many troubles… multiple deadlines, concerned or worried parents, not to mention students who you may have worked with and worked with, and they are still not understanding. In isolation, these troubles can be manageable, however, when they all fall upon you at once (as is often the case for teachers) there comes a breaking point. Teachers need the support and comfort of fellow teachers and leaders at these times, to lift up and encourage.
Comfort can be a kind word, an encouraging word, a thank you, a hug, a shared duty, an offer to help, a card, flowers, a conversation, a Bible verse, a quote, a coffee break. How you comfort is likely to be unique to you. But perhaps you have never sought to comfort another on the job. Maybe you have always left that to somebody else, thinking, “their family will look after them, their spouse will support them, their friends will bring comfort.” Sadly, not everyone has supporting families, spouses or friends. Unfortunately not everyone has a support network or a church that is active in reaching out in love. For some, work may be an escape from the cold reality of their lives. For these people, if they suddenly find themselves drowning in a place that was meant to be their stronghold, then they are more likely to lose hope in life and their purpose.
The power of a drop of comfort can be life-saving to a thirsty soul.
If we are to truly comfort those around us, we first need to seek comfort from our Heavenly Father. As Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1, we can comfort others with the comfort we receive from God. For me, I receive comfort through nature first, and then music, devotionals, quotes, Bible passages. God often uses little birds to speak into my heart. On the last day of our Professional Development, a few of us walked past a little black bird that appeared to be injured, sitting on the steps to our music room. I came back to it and was able to capture it whilst we discussed whether it was in fact injured or just stunned. Eventually, it flew off in a fluster. We guessed it had flown into a window and was sitting on the step, stunned, attempting to recover.
Sometimes we can become overwhelmed by the workload, or injured and stunned by a negative communication from a parent that seems to have come out of nowhere. We do not know what another teacher may be going through within the course of even one day, because the job can be so fast-paced. We need to look for ways to support and comfort those around us when we see the need, and even perhaps when we don’t. Some faces hide things well. If we can offer those life-saving drops of comfort to all we come across, then those who need it most will hopefully receive it with open hands and hearts.
And don’t think someone else is handling it. Sometimes, the very person the comfort needs to come from, may be you.