Every so often find the Bible passage I am reading to be “perfectly timed” for the season of life I find myself in (and this seems to happen more frequently as I age). Reading the first chapter of 2nd Corinthians today was one such instance, with deep waves of blessing. Let me share the passage, and a few thoughts with you. May the Spirit of God bless you as well…
“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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (vv.3-4)
Our God has a clear purpose in mind for every affliction I face. And in the midst of these, He aims to also provide a place/time/supply of comfort for me. And these two (a goal & our comfort) work together — for if it is God’s aim for us to be “successful comforters of others” (and it is), then he will well equip us by comforting us well.
“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (vv.5-7)
The times in which we suffer are not times apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, but times when He is quite near us. The comfort God supplies can – and will – keep pace with our sufferings. Again, it is God’s aim for me to so gain from my experiences with Christ so as to comfort others in significant ways. Believers are not alone in these experiences, but have the companionship of others in Christ.
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (vv.8-10)
Ah, what a dawn of hope and sunburst of insight this passage brings! In our most difficult circumstances God designs that we rely upon and lean upon Him; and not upon ourselves! The Lord brought Paul to the end of his own resources — a death-like end to his own vitality — only to roll away the stone of despair, and impart resurrection-strength to his weakness. God is so powerful! And He is consistent, He will continue to help me again and again. I must affix my hope on Him!
O Lord, thank you for giving us this passage of Scripture, with clear encouragements for those believers in the midst of difficulties!
Increase our faith in your word, and our hope in You.
You are most worthy.
You are, indeed, the God of all comfort!