|Posted by TBCOH on December 6, 2014 at 1:40 AM|
The God of All Comfort
2 Cor. 1:3-5
In his letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” (2 Cor. 1:3) For Christians, God is first and foremost known as the Father of Jesus, who in turn is the greatest blessing given to mankind. We can call Him our Heavenly Father only because He is the Father of Jesus.
Paul experienced firsthand “the God of all comfort” through his ministry as an apostle for Jesus Christ. The comfort Paul is writing about in this Scripture passage has nothing to do with a sentimental, “warm and fuzzy” feeling we often associate with the word comfort. God’s comfort is His encouragement and strengthening when believers experience difficult circumstances. Paul wrote, “He comforts us in all our affliction…” (vs. 1:4a). Paul suffered both extreme physical abuse and emotional turmoil as Christ’s apostle. In this letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul wrote about afflictions he experienced in his mission work in Asia. He said they were “burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life.” (vs. 1:8) In his difficulties, Paul came to recognize not only God’s deliverance, but His purpose to teach Paul to rely completely upon Him.
It is natural for us to want to avoid suffering. Yet, the Bible repeatedly teaches that followers of Christ can grow spiritually through these challenges. “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
God had a greater purpose than comforting Paul. The apostle would “…be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (vs. 1:4b) Through his personal example, prayers, and words of encouragement, Paul could come alongside others in distress, because he himself experienced personally God’s comfort. Paul was, and we today are, able to comfort others because “…the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.” (vs. 1:5) Christ was, and is, the center and source for all comfort.
The irony of the “holiday season” is that it can be some of the most discomforting days to get through for people who are experiencing difficult times in their lives. People who are long-term caregivers, those grieving over loss of a loved one through death, loss of job, torn or broken relationships? Can you identify people in your life that you can offer comfort to, through the comfort you have received from God through Jesus Christ? You can be a blessing to someone today.
Thank you, Mary Rayburn, for blessing us with this devotional moment.
December 1, 2014
Categories: "Food For Thought"