Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Suffering is a universal experience. As much as we would like to avoid it, all of us will suffer in some way, at some time. If you’ve been around church for any amount of time, you may have heard the cliché, “You’re either coming out of a trial, in a trial, or preparing for a trial,” in a sermon or Bible study. Often in those sermons or lessons what we want or expect to hear is some kind of practical wisdom to help us get to the other side of suffering. We want someone to give us three steps to fix what ails us. But as helpful as those things may seem, the Bible gives us something better in the opening verses of 2 Corinthians.
Paul begins in verse three by writing about “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” By uniting these references together, Paul is linking the mercy and comfort of God to the person and work of Jesus Christ. He’s making that point God’s mercy and comfort are extended to us through Jesus.
Paul invites us to look to the Jesus to see our momentary affliction in the context of eternity, and he encourages us to press into the Spirit of God to find our way through pain. He urges us press into the Father of mercy and the God of all comfort when we are confused and hurting.
In verse four, Paul says that once we have turned to God in our hurt, then we can take the comfort we’ve received from God and use it in ministry to others. After all, that’s what Paul is doing in this letter. The unifying theme of 2 Corinthians is suffering in the life of the Christian, so it’s interesting that it’s not a letter filled with much practical advice. Instead Paul continually writes about how his own pain and suffering drew him closer to God.
This doesn’t mean advice is bad, but rather that the answer to our hurts is not more advice, but God Himself. We get to know this God of comfort by spending time with Him in His Word. As the Scriptures begin to shape our heart and our lives, when we suffer we are able to find comfort in the Father of mercies. As we encounter friends who are suffering, we have the opportunity to introduce them to the God of comfort.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How have you seen God to be the “God of all comfort”?
- Who do you know that is suffering right now? How might you use your own experience with God’s mercy in affliction to minister to them?
Sometimes we find comfort in baked goods. As a family, make some yummy baked goods and share some of your baked goods with your friends and/or neighbors. Have children make a card to go with your yummy treats, reminding your friends and/or neighbors how much God loves them and cares so much about them.
Pray for the parents and extended family members of global workers living far away during the holidays. Pray for creativity in connecting and growth in family relationships despite the distance.