Comfort For Others
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“The Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
“The problem of pain,” as C. S. Lewis referred to it, has troubled people throughout the centuries. People have wrestled with the conundrum, how a good and loving God could allow evil and pain to be so prevalent in His creation. In the words of another, “Faith is difficult when our physical bodies are writhing in pain. And yet, it is at this point perhaps more than any other that the Christian flees to the Word of God for comfort. It is for this reason that foundational to the Christian faith is the affirmation that God is sovereign over evil and over all pain.”
The Old Testament book of Job tells of a man who is pushed to the absolute limit of endurance with the problem of pain. God allows Job to be an unprotected target for the malice of Satan. Everything dear to Job is stripped from him, including his worldly goods, his family, and his own physical health. He suffers so much that even his wife encourages him to curse God and die. In the midst of his misery, Job cries out: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21). Later, he exhibited a further astonishing level of abiding trust in his Creator when he said, “Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him” (13:5). This is why Job encourages us today with the comfort God provided for him.
Despite our desperate cries for deliverance from pain, as Paul in I Cor. 12:7-12, God often doesn’t remove the troubles and sorrows from our lives. However, the comfort God afforded Paul was abundant just as Paul said, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort through Christ is abundant” (2 Cor. 1:5). As in Paul’s situation with the “thorn in the flesh” God provided grace that was “abundant” to handle the problem and through that experience prepared him to help others. Comfort from God is not a sedative, it doesn’t take away the pain; instead it strengthens so that we can endure the pain. God makes us capable to patiently endure. That is His comfort to us. Through these things God molds us into sympathetic and compassionate people. That is why in our text Paul speaks of comforting those in trouble through the comfort that we ourselves have received from God. Only those who have endured pain and sorrow can adequately comfort others.
When God blesses, we are to bless others with the blessings of God! As God has forgiven us, we are to forgive others; as God loves us, we are to love others; and now, as God comforts us, we are to comfort others. Again, what God gives to us is to never be kept to ourselves. He expects us to respond to what He does by giving to those around us. If you know of someone experiencing pain and sorrow then pray for them and show sympathy and compassion. Perhaps you have already been prepared by God to do a work for another person. As we do these things faithfully, the church will be strengthened for we will all be comforting and encouraging and strengthening one another.
With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Daily Devotions by Guy Roberson”
From Expository Files 22.8; August 2015