Built to Comfort
Read This Week: 2 Corinthians 1
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 receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Christian apologist and thinker, Ravi Zacharias once wrote this on the subject of pain and suffering: “We are short-sighted because all we want is to be comfortable. We cannot understand the great plan of an all-knowing God who brings us near to Him through pain or in disappointment with pleasure. Although we wish to avoid it, the pathway of pain can be the means to recognizing our mortality and the rescuing grace of a God so longing to reach us that He was willing to suffer pain Himself.”
This redemptive view of pain and suffering as it relates to our lives and our relationship with God is exactly what Paul is writing to the people of Corinth. He, and those who joined him in Christian service, have experienced many difficulties. There had been much pain and suffering, but Paul did not view it as misery but as a ministry. He declares that God allows suffering, provides the strength for it in each case, and then uses that strength to minister to others. Paul firmly believed that suffering is an invaluable part of gospel ministry and the service of people.
Paul even begins verse 3 by singing praises. But, he’s not singing about his and the church’s circumstances; he is worshipping the One who is in control of their circumstances. He realizes and points out in this section that Jesus suffered, and those whom he calls to follow Him also suffer. But this suffering is not in vain. Our hardships can lead to the encouragement and blessing of those who are also suffering. God can use the pain we share in Christ to give hope and provide comfort to those who need it most.
The word comfort is used 11 times in this passage and means “to console with strength” or “to come alongside and help.” God’s comfort puts strength in our hearts to not only face our difficulties but to overcome them. So, as God comes beside us and consoles with His power in our challenges, pain, and disappointment, may we, in turn, channel that same comfort to our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
The Lord is sufficient in and of Himself to comfort and lift people, but sometimes He desires to use other believers to provide the encouragement we need. When we are discouraged or overwhelmed with our circumstances, the tendency is to focus on ourselves and our feelings only. However, in Christ, we are built to comfort, not for comfort. We receive it in faith from the Lord and then give it to others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 says, “Praise to the God and Father of our *Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who cares about our pains. He is the God from whom all comfort comes. v4 He comforts us in all our troubles. Then we can comfort other people who have trouble. We give them the comfort that God has given us. As we share the pains of Christ, so by him we can share God’s comfort. When we have pain, we can give you comfort and *salvation. But when we receive comfort, you also will receive comfort. This will help you to suffer with patience the same difficult experiences that we have suffered. Our hope for you is firm. You have suffered troubles as we also have done. We are sure about this. You will share in the comfort that we have received.”
Have you ever felt like no one understands you? What you’re going through doesn’t seem right? You just don’t know what to do? It’s just so painful? Well, Paul went through all kinds of trials and suffering, and people said things that were not true about him. He went through all kinds of suffering for God and people. He suffered just like Jesus.
The good news is that God understands. He was there for Jesus, Paul and He is right there for you too! He is right with you ready to give you comfort, to encourage you, to give you the strength you need to get through what you’re going through. So, be like Jesus, Paul, and all those who go to the Father – Praise Him because He has the answers. Pray ( Talk to God), open up your Bible daily and that is where you’ll find the Father speaking to you. As you read, ask God what He is saying to you to help get you through what you’re enduring. Not only does God comfort us through talking to Him, worshiping Him, praising Him, listening to Him, but the Father God gives us comfort through those who love Him too. God gets blessed when we take time to bless others, help them through their hard times too.
Ask God how you can help someone, give them comfort, and encourage them. Maybe they’re going through something that you just came through with God. Ask Him for scripture and write what God gives you to help them too. People love it when you take the time to give them a card with love, encouragement, and comfort from the Father. God is saying, “I picked you to be my helper, My servant, a messenger to comfort, encourage, and bring My good news to them. Love, speak the truth, and bring My hope to those I put in your life. Be like Jesus and good things will always come when people respond to My love.”
I am so thankful to God for His love.
Thank you for your comment, Heidi. I am convinced, as you outlined in your post, that we must have an intentional heart when it comes to encouraging, blessing and comforting others. Your comment, “Ask God how you can help someone, give them comfort, and encourage them. Maybe they’re going through something that you just came through,” is where it begins in my opinion. We have to ask and seek God for the wisdom, discernment, and passion to minister to and love on others especially when it comes to doing so out of our own pain.
It is not easy but when God gives us the strength and love to comfort others, everyone wins. As you stated, even “God is blessed when we take time to bless others and help them through their hard times.” By doing this, we find eternal purpose and meaning in our pain, others are built up and encouraged and God is blessed.
From 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 4, God is saying to me, “In your tribulations, as well as the world there is comfort.” This comfort speaks of us having peace in the midst of the tribulation. There is rest in Christ. The world may be falling apart around us, but we can have perfect peace within. God is our Comforter, and that means that the believers in Jesus can be comforters as well.
What that means to me is the only way to truly sympathize with someone else, is to have had the same problem yourself.
I’m so thankful for the comfort of Christ, Jeri. That comfort that he gives us and empowers us to give to others always gives meaning and purpose to our pain. When we help others out of our painful experiences, it is a powerful demonstration to us and the world that our suffering is not in vain. It can be used for God’s glory and the good of other people. That is truly hopeful.
In 2 Corinthians Chapter 1, verses 11 and 12, God was saying to me, “While you go through life, with the family of God, you should restrain yourself from the worldly ways of how you interact with others. How you treat them with an open heart for no other reason, you are to show my love to them. Help strengthen them in the faith and love for me without your own selfish reasons.”
What that means to me is that we must put our worldly thoughts behind us and show God’s love to others. We are to bring them to Him and try to strengthen them in His name and for His glory.
You make a really strong point here, Sam because I think we can help others sometimes for the wrong reasons or out of selfish motives. We may do it to get something back from them later or because we want them to help us at some point. We may do it out of our own insecurity and desire to please people and gain their approval. Whatever it is, we have to keep in view what you said that we are to “help strengthen people in the faith and love for me without our own selfish reasons.”
This is what truly, as you also said, “brings them to Him and strengthens them in His name and for His glory.” Thank you for this word.
This week, God gave me a song during Bible Study. I’m thankful to Pastors Ken and Heidi for all of their encouragement to us. They are always showing and teaching God’s word and they both put God first and honor Him. My song is entitled, “He Comforts”:
Praising you, praising you, praising you, oh Lord
Who comforts us day and night through the storms
We praise you, praise you, praise you, oh Lord
Giving us joy through sadness, hope through the storms
Most of all, you love us through everything
Thank you, thank you, thank you, oh Lord for all your comfort
Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings
Thank you for that encouraging song, Alma, and offering to God as our Comforter. He truly sees us through the storms and provides hope and comfort when we are having a hard time feeling either in life. I appreciate this reminder and it brought to mind a song I’ve been listening to called “Anchor of My Soul” and part of it says this:
I have seen enough to know
that Your love’s the only anchor for my soul
So please don’t You ever let me go
If You do I will be lost, forever Lord
Swept away by the waves of the storm
O Lord of the wind and the waves
If You’re with us we will not be afraid
No storm can ever separate us from Jesus
You’re mighty to save
All of those who will call on Your name
Alleluia, Jesus Lord of all
Alleluia, Jesus lead us on
What God was showing me through the reading this week was all about comfort. He said to me, I am full of comfort, strength and help for you. My comfort can be given and received through others. If you don’t reveal your needs to others, you will never receive the comfort I can give you through others. When you go through any kind of suffering, My son Jesus is there to bring you comfort, but you must be willing to receive it. If you suffer as a Christian , do not be ashamed. You are to glorify Me in this matter.
Sometimes I may allow situations in your life, where your only consolation is found through Christ. Suffering should make you closer to Me and make you rely more and more on Me alone. Suffering makes you more able to bring comfort and salvation to the lives of others. My desire is that suffering will bring you endurance.
What this says to me is when I am suffering Jesus is always with me, to comfort me, but I must be willing to receive it. I have to trust God, and that He will bring good from it, as I am helping others to go through the same trials.
I really appreciate this line from your comment, Kathy: “If you don’t reveal your needs to others, you will never receive the comfort I can give you through others.” I think we often forfeit the comfort we can receive from God through the Body of Christ because we fail to share our hearts and struggles with others. Pride, ego, fear or self-interest can all be at the heart of why we don’t share but we need humility and submission to God to allow others to be an avenue of comfort from Him. May God gives us the grace and strength to carry the burdens of others and allow them to carry ours.