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. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
The Sovereign God, who is always doing more than one thing at a time, has purpose in trouble, disappointment, and suffering. He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Comfort that He expects us to use to comfort others.
Isn’t it comforting just to know that God gives comfort/encouragement to us with the expectation that we will pass it on…that the heartache, tears, inner pain does have purpose? Paul says in verse 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.” Let’s see, I am distressed and one reason for the distress is your comfort and salvation. I then find comfort and that is for your comfort as well and will produce patient endurance when it is your season to suffer. What a great God, in it all He is training us to be instruments of comfort or comforters for others.
It really is the grace of transformation at work here. The taking on of the character and nature of God. Remember verse 1, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. The Father of our Lord Jesus who is the image of the Father, and the Holy Spirit as described in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.“
We look at Paul’s list of troubles and know that his life experiences gave him much need of comfort.
“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-28
Certainly, there would be need for much comfort, encouragement, and strengthening as Paul labored for the Lord. Therefore, he would have much comfort, encouragement, and strengthening to pass along.
I belief that while we could agree that none of us have experienced Paul’s exact life, we could all look back over our lives and know that there have been and perhaps even right now, seasons of receiving the comfort, encourage, and strength that only God gives. This should cause us to bow with thanks and praise for how God used His servants to help us through, to bring us a due Word in season, to pray for us, meet our needs, to just be there.
I am reminded of Hebrews 12:15a, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God.” With this in mind, may we commit to the Lord as His instruments of grace of comfort, encouragement and strength in the Name of Jesus to the glory of God and the blessing and benefit of His people!