Tuesday, 19 May 2015
…who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
This verse is connected directly to the previous verse which said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”
It is this “God of all comfort” of which Paul continues to speak. It is He “who comforts us in all our tribulation.” The “us” is speaking of all believers, but particularly himself, those with him, and the recipients of his letter, the Corinthians. We are included in this as well in that God has ensured this epistle is included in the Bible. Therefore, we can be confident that all tribulations we face do in fact include God’s great hand of comfort.
And there is a reason for this in our lives. It is “that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.” In this, Paul gives an end purpose for our own tribulations. They come so that we will have the ability to comfort others in their times of tribulation. If God is truly the “God of all comfort,” and our comforting others in their own tribulations is an end purpose of the afflictions we face, then this means that God’s comfort for those we in turn provide comfort to is being provided by us. Thus, we become the means of God’s comfort of which He speaks.
In confirmation of this, Paul shows this to be so when our own ability to comfort others comes “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted with.” Jesus suffered and yet through His sufferings He was able to provide comfort to those who followed Him. They in turn suffered, and they in turn were able to provide comfort to those who followed them. It is a repeating cycle of care which stems originally from God who truly is the “God of all comfort.” This is actually alluded to in the book of Hebrews –
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.” Hebrews 5:1, 2
As an additional note, Paul does not say that the only reason for our tribulations is to attain the ability to comfort others. Tribulations may come for correction, as an instrument of bringing us closer to the Lord, or simply for attaining knowledge that we would otherwise be lacking. In all though, when tribulations come, they are not unknown to God, nor is He uncaring concerning our situation.
Life application: God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us when we are in Christ. Let us be reassured in this, particularly when times of great trial or suffering arise.
Heavenly Father, despite the many trials and troubles which come my way, I will keep my eyes fixed on You and my heart directed to You. I will not let my faith slip because of temporary light afflictions. I know that greater things lie ahead for me because of the work of Jesus my Lord. Should I lose hope in You and Your promises, I would have nothing left in my times of trial! And so instead, I will cling to You even tighter. Amen!