Lord, thank You for just being there for me.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 1:1–22
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.
Paul’s Change of Plans
12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity[b] and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[c] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
a 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.
b 2 Corinthians 1:12 Many manuscripts holiness
c 2 Corinthians 1:19 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
New International Version (NIV)
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“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law” (Psa. 119:18). Ask God to open your eyes so that you can “see” all that he wants to teach you.
The “God of all comfort” (3) is one of the best-known phrases in all of 2 Corinthians; the theme of comfort is clearly stressed in our verses, with Paul mentioning it explicitly several times (3–7). It sounds wonderful—we want to be comforted—but we can easily misunderstand what is being offered here. Our view of comfort might relate to ease or even luxury, yet the Greek word translated “comfort,” paraklesis, has nothing to do with this. It could easily be rendered “encouragement” and carries the sense of someone being alongside to help. The context further shows that this encouragement is for those who, like Paul, suffer because they follow Christ and engage in his work. Paul experienced hardship and distress and even “deadly peril” (10) as he gave himself to cutting-edge mission work. God comforts him by being alongside and delivering him.
This is a vital principle for all who engage in mission work. Suffering will come, and on our own we will not be able to keep going (8). Yet God will always be involved to strengthen and deliver. Many who are reading this will be suffering because they have followed Jesus faithfully and currently engage in his work. If this is you, pray to God for his compassion and help in hardship. Pray with confidence, because our wonderful, gracious “God of all comfort” is more than ready to listen and respond.
God may help us directly or encourage us through a fellow Christian. As we receive comfort, we are to play our part in the cycle of encouragement by comforting others (4). God has been so good to us in Jesus, pouring his grace into our lives. Having received so much from our God, our call is to allow this overflow to comfort others (5).
Alongside whom is God calling you to be, sharing the comfort and strength you yourself have received?
Lord, Your people acknowledge the hardships that beset us as we carry out Your work, but we also luxuriate in the knowledge that You assist, protect and deliver us as we press on.