2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 6 ESV“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.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.
Nobody likes going through hard times. We tend to skim over scripture passages like this one and, if we aren’t in the midst of a difficult time, think, ‘Oh I hope this doesn’t happen to me anytime soon’.
Christians aren’t promised an exemption from hardships and ‘afflictions’ in life. However we do have the promise of One who draws alongside us to help, comfort and guide us. John 14:26 ESV:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Isaiah 51:12-13, 15-16 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies? Where is their fury and anger now? It is gone!
For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ‘You are my people!”
Our God is ”the Father of mercies and God of all comfort’. No one
knows you as he does and nothing or no one can comfort you the way he can.
We see here that first and foremost in our trial, God comforts and pours his mercy out his mercy.
He sees your pain and affliction and as your Father his heart is moved.
Lift your eyes to him and allow him to be the lifter of your head. (Psalm 3:3)
So that we in turn can comfort others
It’s not actually all about us. Though I sometimes think the whole world revolves around Jill, I sometimes get that wake up call, that reminds me that I’ve been living in my own little bubble again!
The second part of 2 Corinthians 1:4b says: “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.”
Also verse 5: “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
Hardship and trials are a training ground for us as Christians, to reach out to and minister to others. We were never meant to keep it to ourselves. If we’ve never been through difficult times and experienced God’s comfort, how can we really comfort others with anything other than empty platitudes?
Romans 8:28 promises that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” ‘Everything’ means every single thing. So the hard financial circumstance, the difficult family relationship, the promotion you were hoping for at work that someone else got, the loss of a job, death of a loved one, empty nest syndrome, caring for elderly parents, abusive spouse, school bullies; whatever your circumstances may be today- even if your life is great at the moment- God works everything together for your good.
And then, in turn, he enables you to ‘share abundantly’ with others what we’ve received from him.
Wherever you’re at today, allow The God of All Comfort to envelop you in his loving embrace and do what he loves to do…comfort you.
When the father of Lies tries to whisper into your ear ‘you can’t get through this time’ – remember the promise of our God, the Father of Grace and All Comfort, to never leave you, never forsake you, to turn this situation you are in around and work it for your good and to use you to bless and encourage others.
And then let’s do what he has commissioned us to do… go out and comfort others with the comfort we have received.
Jill McIlreavy 💜