9/15/10

Coming Alongside

My dad, a Navy man who spent most of his career on ships (destroyers), used to tell me stories about supply ships that came alongside larger vessels to supply whatever they needed at sea. The supply ships were always a welcome sight, enabling carriers and other large ships the ability to press forward. I like that concept of help to move forward.

That is what a good counselor or life coach does, too ~ comes alongside to provide the counsel, encouragement, wisdom ... whatever is needed so a person can move forward with successful attitudes for life.

One of the names of the Holy Spirit that describes a function of the Spirit in the believer's life is Paraclete. The word has many translations, including, "an advocate or helper; one who consoles and intercedes; counselor; one who is called to another person's side." The concept in scripture is of a holy Comforter or Counselor that believers need in the struggles of life.

1 John 2:1 describes the paraclete-like advocacy of intercession Jesus offers for believers. Jesus is able to advocate for and comfort us because He was tempted as we are (Heb. 2:14-18; 4:14-16). He totally understands! And then, only a few hours before Jesus went to the cross ~ as He sensed His disciples' concern for the His coming death and departure (Matt. 16:21; John 16:7-16) ~ He explained that "another paraclete" would come. This third person of the Trinity would provide faithful support and help to God's people in the Savior's absence. Just imagine how the disciples were comforted by this promise, even if they couldn't fully understand what Jesus meant at the time.

The Holy Spirit comforts us because we need comforting! God wants His children to have joy and inner comfort in spite of earth's trials (John 14:17, 27; 16:33; Rom. 14:17b; James 1:2). The fruit of the Spirit in us includes "joy and peace" (Gal. 5:22); and it also includes love. The Spirit loves us as Christ loves us (Rom. 15:30a).

The challenge to me is to allow the work of the Holy Spirit to become so powerful in my life that I can come along-side others to encourage, comfort, and counsel them in their time of need. I, too, can become paraclete-like! The God of All Comfort designed this wondrous plan! (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

It has been said, "He who has suffered much speaks many languages" (anon). The reason this is true is, we all will endure various afflictions and trials, and it helps to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Sometimes, the best way to minister to others is to empathize with them, saying, "I know exactly what you're going through!" ~ but only if we indeed have suffered what they are suffering.

Have you found this true?

  • Have you struggled with a sin and found victory, and directed others to the Lord so they can find victory, too?
  • Have you endured some tough circumstance, and because of your pain, you understand the pain of others?
I'd love to hear how God has enabled you ~ because of how He has come alongside you ~ to be a comforter or counselor to bless people's lives.

5 comments:

Pam Farrel said...

I'd be a mess with out the counsel and courage Holy spirit gives me. He moved me from a child from home of domestic violence to victorious leader. I am so grateful!

crazydaisy said...

Thank you for that reminder, Dawn. A reminder that I have encouragement nexto me because God sent that paraete to help me whenever I call on Him! Right now, I don't have a car, I'm going to school to finish my degree, I kind of feel alone, but I constantly receive encouragement in various forms. A friend is letting me carpool with her to school, there were enough scholarships to send me to school, I was invited to the same Bible study by 3 people (an I've really been looking for one), and I have this new 'sense of belonging.'. The Paraclete has been orchestrating for me and I find it quite peaceful and relaxing! I have peace from the Paraclete!

Sharon said...

Great analogy, Dawn! The Holy Spirit makes a huge difference in my life and when no one else was there he guided, fed, and brought me back into the harbor of God's love and grace. What a sinking ship I was. Praise God!

Marja said...

Good post Dawn, thank you for your wise words. I have not had much drama in my life, and I am grateful for that. But it is true that because of that I find it hard to relate to the trouble of other people, simply because I have never been there. God gave me an abundance of joy, and I share that with others :)

Dawn Wilson said...

Thank you, Ladies. Yes, we all certainly have much to thank God for ... I like the way you said it, Sharon: All of us were sinking ships until we were brought into the safe harbor of God's love. And now we have the Spirit to teach and comfort us. Awesome!