One theme that has bee noticeable throughout this year-long series is how we go through things, not just for ourselves, but also for others. This theme is going to be evident again today in Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” There are a few lessons that I believe we can see and apply here.
The first lesson is that God is the source of our comfort. Paul is writing about his persecutions for the Gospel. I have argued many times that 2 Corinthians is Paul’s most personal letter. Paul says in the opening chapter that things were so bad, he actually thought he was going to die during these times. Yet, we also see Paul writing in a very hopeful tone. Even though he is suffering, he is still joyful. He knows it is God who is in control of all things, including whether he lives or dies. Paul knew he was going to be ok. Only knowing that your life is hidden in Christ can give you this kind of encouragement in the face of adversity. Paul didn’t look to his circumstances for hope; he looked to God. Whatever Paul needed, he knew it would come from God and be supplied by God. The other lesson here is that God doesn’t waste our experiences. There is always a bigger purpose behind them. This wasn’t just about Paul, this was about the Corinthians, and probably many others Christians in other regions. Paul knew that to live a Christian life meant persecution would come. Therefore, he was trying to not only comfort the Corinthians, but also prepare them. Paul had been comforted so that he could comfort others who were suffering. The same is true for you and I. Whatever we are going through in life, it is about us, but it isn’t just about us. God has a bigger plan behind it. This is where trusting that God is sovereign helps. When we know that God is in control, it allows us to relax a little more, because we can trust Him. We may not know what God is up to, or why something is happening, but we know Him. We know that He is good, loving, gracious, and merciful. Therefore, we can trust the character of God when we don’t see the hand of God.
As you go through the rest of this week, I want to challenge you to see the bigger picture. How can God use what you are going through, either good or bad, to point others to Him? How is God comforting you today? How can you use that to comfort others? In God’s plan, He never wastes our pain. Therefore, let’s not waste the lessons He is trying to teach us.
By His grace and for His glory,