All of us are familiar with the phrase “avoid the middleman.” In our efforts to prevent paying too much for a product or service, we strive to cut out anyone that may be adding their fee onto what we will eventually pay. It is a great goal for anyone trying to save a few bucks!
However, we may be making a mistake if we apply this type of thinking to other areas of our life. For example, if we just received news that someone we know is going through great difficulty in their life, we should take this matter to God in prayer and ask Him to help and bring comfort to this situation in a way that only He can.
You probably have prayed this prayer or one like it. I know I have. Someone in our life needs God’s comfort, and so we go to God and ask Him to handle it. However, do we “avoid the middleman” by praying such a prayer? I believe we sometimes do because, as with any middleman, we know there is a cost associated when using one.
Read Paul’s words in his letter to the church at Corinth and see if you can spot the middleman.
“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. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3–5 (NKJV)
Did you spot the middleman?
Too often, when praying for others in trouble, you and I pray, “God, would you handle it?” However, many times, it is we who have been positioned perfectly by God to be the middleman! We are called to be part of the process but “avoid the middleman” because of the cost involved, mainly our time. Being a comfort to those in trouble with the same comfort we ourselves have been comforted by is going to interrupt our schedule. Yes, there is a cost to becoming the middleman, but if we “avoid the middleman,” the price is paid by those in trouble.
Paul’s words teach us that God comforts us in all our troubles. If you know God, you probably have been comforted by Him through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus more times than you can count. Yet, Jesus is not the middleman; He is the source of our comfort.
So, how has He comforted you?
Is it His love for you? (John 3:16)
Is it His overcoming the world? (John 16:33)
Could it be His triumph over all troubles? (Revelation 21:4)
Next time we go to God on behalf of those in trouble, maybe we could pray, “God forgive me when I avoid being the middleman, please help me be a comfort to those in trouble, with the same comfort by which I myself was comforted.”