God of All Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

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. 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.

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. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
Have you ever felt isolated and alone? Have you ever endured something that you thought no one else could possibly understand? Many of us have experienced a season of life where suffering seemed unbearable. Overwhelmed with pain, we might question whether God even sees our despair. The “why” goes unanswered and we spiral deeper into isolation and fear. Suffering is nothing new in 2020, the struggle has been real since the garden. Yet in all things, God is still working for our good.

This unprecedented season of isolation can easily stir up a spirit of fear within our hearts. Loneliness and desperation consume us as the enemy discourages us from sharing our pain with anyone. Satan would love to see you cling to your suffering and pain, hiding it from others. Paul reminds us in this Scripture that something powerful occurs as we share our sufferings with another person. We are united in our pain as we share in our struggles. Healing happens when we open up and allow someone into our hardships. It becomes less about me and more about we. There is something comforting about knowing that we are not alone.

Throughout his letters, Paul suggests that nothing which comes from God is meant to be kept to ourselves. God does not comfort us to be comfortable, but to make us comforters of others. Just as sharing in our sufferings gives life, the comforting of others brings us comfort as well. Before Jesus ascended into heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit, he had to experience incredible pain.

Sometimes one must endure great suffering to pass another great comfort. The Greek word parakletos found only in John (14:16,26), has an array of valid translations. It can mean counselor, advocate, and comforter. Of all that Jesus promised His disciples in the upper room that night, He assures them of comfort in his absence. It is so easy to feel abandoned and alone, yet the comforting peace of Christ can deliver us in an instant. In their time of need, the comfort you share can have resurrecting power in someone’s life.

Reflect

  1. Can you identify two benefits which Paul suggests will come from suffering (1:6, 1:9)?  
  2. In this season of isolation and separation, how might you comfort one another?
  3. In Galatians 6:2, Paul exhorts us to “bear one another’s burdens”. How might you reach out and offer support to another today?

Pray

Lord, help me to access the comfort you provide in your presence and share that with someone in need today. Show me how what I have endured can bring comfort to others. Empower me to freely give away that which was given to me. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Zac Holt, March 24, 2020
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