“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
You may have to read this verse a few times to make sure you get it right – it’s a little wordy and maybe even a little bit confusing, but there’s no mistaking what the theme of this sentence is: Comfort. Paul says the word “comfort” four times in this one sentence. Obviously he feels pretty strongly about this – and for good reason! In this one sentence Paul offers us quite a bit of wisdom.
First, he directs our attention to God, who he calls the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” This is where the comfort train begins. It’s the engine, so to speak. It’s the part of this equation that makes the rest of it work. God is a God of comfort. He is a God of compassion, meaning that he feels pity and concern and sympathy for us when we suffer. That compassion moves him toward comfort. He comforts us in our time of need, or at least he offers it. Many times we forget to turn to him for comfort in those times of need. But regardless, he always offers it freely with his message of redemption and hope.
The next step in the sequence is that we receive that comfort. If we have the wisdom to turn to God for relief from our sufferings, misfortunes, and hardships, we will receive his comfort. His presence and his promise that he is on our side can carry us through anything. The hope of eternal life with him can make all other things pale in comparison. It’s not always an immediate process, but God provides comfort and healing.
Finally, we are called to keep adding links to the chain that God started. As we have experienced comfort from God, we are able to likewise feel compassion for and offer comfort to others who are experiencing a difficult time. Of course, it is not we who are the source of comfort, but God. We join with others in their sorrow, and we offer hope by sharing the promises of God. In doing so, you are able to be a tool of God’s peace and comfort in someone else’s life.
It’s a chain reaction. It starts with God, and where it ends depends on you. Take time to look for and discern people and situations where you can offer this comfort and peace.
Thank you for the compassion that you have for us and the comfort that you give us in hard times. Thank you for being there and for always giving us hope. Empower us to take that message of hope and offer it as comfort to a hurting world around us. May your healing and comfort be brought to the world through us.
In Jesus’ Name,