WORDS OF COMFORT
Loving Lord, I need your courage and grace to listen, to answer, to care, and to rejoice.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 1:1-11
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
- 2 Corinthians 1:8 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 8:1; 13:11.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of a time when you experienced God’s comfort. Did that help you to offer comfort to others?
Those of us of a certain age, me included, may remember the Beatles lyrics ‘Speaking words of wisdom, let it be’ (1970). Paul begins his letter speaking words of comfort – over and over again. The word has the meaning of standing alongside, giving strength. Not so much being wrapped in cotton wool (fluffy wadding), more like being gently prodded. We tend to prefer fluffy wadding, wanting to be shielded from hardship and sheltered from difficulties. But God’s comfort operates in the midst of troubles, enabling us to stand and to know his presence. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter who stands alongside us (and prods us!) (John 16:7).
Moreover, we are not the center of the picture. Comfort flowed from God to Paul, and then from Paul to the church. There was a cascade effect, and the catalyst was suffering (v 7). In Paul’s case it was not just a minor irritation but a life-threatening attack (v 8). So much so that his deliverance felt like a resurrection (v 9)!
Suffering, comfort, awareness of others: it is a life-giving sequence that God wants to develop in your life and mine… speaking words of comfort, let it be. And indeed it will be, because our God is the God of all comfort.
Are you overwhelmed today? As you see God provide for you, remember to be his instrument of comfort in the life of someone else.
Risen Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that life has its ups and downs; I’ve had my share of both. I thank you for the good times, and for bringing me through the hard times.
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