Friday, 22 May 2015
And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 2 Corinthians 1:7
Again as with the previous verses, Paul ties suffering in with comfort. It is true that we cannot fully appreciate things without a contrast with which to gauge them. If we always felt well, we wouldn’t have an appreciation for what feeling well means. But when we get hurt or sick, we can then understand how good it was to feel normal. And when we get back to feeling normal, we can enjoy it in a new way.
If everything smelled sweet, we wouldn’t have an appreciation for it. But when an objectionable odor comes along, we can then more appreciate the sweet fragrances of the flowers. In consideration of this, Paul has spoken of suffering and consolation. Here, he tells the Corinthians (and all who suffer in Christ and have read this letter), that the apostle’s hope for us in our sufferings is steadfast.
They had suffered and they had received consolation. Likewise, they knew that we, being “partakers of the sufferings” would also “partake of the consolation.” To show that the “our” is certainly a truth understood by the other apostles, we can go to the words of Peter. In his first epistle, he shows a similar thought for us to consider –
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
The truth is that suffering stinks. Nobody willingly hopes for suffering. But in Christ, there is a good end to the sufferings we face, and there is a good reason why we have faced them. The fragrance of the consolation is there and it is all the more sweet because we too have suffered.
Life application: In the Bible, we are admonished to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” In so doing, we won’t get arrogant in the good times and we won’t become despondent in the difficult times. In Him is our perfect example to emulate and our perfect hope to anticipate.
Lord Jesus, I will keep my eyes steadfastly fixed on You. When things are good, I can look to You and realize that they came from You. In knowing this, I won’t get arrogant or cocky. And when things aren’t so great, I won’t get despondent or downcast in my soul. Instead, I will know that You have gone before me in suffering and You will be there for me at the end of mine. For sure You are my perfect example to emulate and my perfect hope to anticipate. Thank You for the stability that comes from keeping my eyes fixed on You. Amen.