The God of all comfort

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 2 Cor. 1:3-5

Dear saint, are you troubled by the unceasing waves of tribulation that seem to roll over you, one after the other? Do you abound in suffering? Have you become weary in bearing up under the constant assaults of broken dreams, dashed hopes, or fading health? Then please hear these verses.

First, they tell us that God will comfort us in all our tribulation. Not just some, but all our tribulation. And not only that, but if you belong to Christ and you are suffering, you can be sure that God will give you grace in your suffering. Such is the power and efficacy of God's mercy that he is able to sustain his people, not only by delivering them from tribulation, but as well by delivering them through tribulation. Remember that Paul himself knew this, and he learned it from the Lord, who said to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Paul's response? Let it be ours: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor. 12:9).

Second, they tell us that the comfort which God ministers abounds by Christ. Do your sufferings abound? Then you can expect God's comfort to abound as well. My friend, God does not just bring his people through suffering and leave them there. He matches every experience of suffering with comfort and as our sufferings abound so our comfort will abound. And this is not just any comfort, but the comfort of God. And our comforts don't just abound from any source, but they abound from Christ, who as our high priest can "be touched by the feeling of our infirmities" and "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb 4:15).

Third, they tell us to expect this comfort in the context of the fellowship of God's people. For Paul says explicitly, that "we may be able to comfort them in any trouble." Do not seek solace in separating yourself from other saints, for you will not find it there. Rather, bring yourself into the happy fellowship of God's people and receive through them God's grace and mercy and comfort. And reach out to those who are suffering; if you have received comfort from God, share it with those who are going through similar trials. Let us bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

Finally, let us not miss that both the suffering and the comfort that God sends is Christ's (2 Cor. 1:5). What that means is that, if we belong to Christ by faith, our suffering is no more a sign that God is displeased with us than it is a sign that he is displeased with his Son. We are united to Christ, and being united to him we can expect God to bring us through with glory and joy. Our sufferings are not expiatory, and they are not proof that God has cast us off, for if we belong to Christ, that can never happen. Just as God brought his Son through suffering into glory, so through the abounding grace of Christ, we also will experience the everlasting kindness of God (Eph. 1:7).

By: Jeremiah Bass