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 have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (NIV)
This familiar verse in 2 Corinthians came up in my Bible reading this week. I have always thought of it as an encouragement that our struggles are not wasted. God uses our pain to help others who are also in pain. And I believe this is true.
But this week, as I copied this familiar verse into my journal, the first half of the verse struck me as if I had never read it before. Specifically, what this verse tells us about God.
Take a moment to read the verses above again.
Paul, in the introduction to his letter to the church in Corinth, describes our God as the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. He is the author of compassion and comfort. This is who God is!
And you know what He does? He comforts us in all our troubles (verse 4).
Our mighty creator God, the One who flung stars into space, the One who parted the sea and healed the sick and sent His Son to die on the cross so our sins could be wiped out—this God knows and sees and cares about what we are going through and responds with compassion and comfort.
This is the God we can turn to when our circumstances are out of control, when our hearts are broken and our bodies are failing, when our relationships are hard, and we don’t know what to do.
Too often I forget this part of God’s character and I comfort myself with the things the world offers. Feeling blue? Buy yourself something special or watch a sad movie with a big block of chocolate. Of course, this type of comfort doesn’t last long and leaves us feeling empty and guilty. It is a false comfort.
The comfort God offers, however, is a peace deep in our hearts and a hope for the future that surpasses any momentary comfort the world can offer. He gives us patience to endure and strength to persevere.
And it is this enduring comfort that enables us to reach out to others who are in difficult circumstances and offer them something that is truly helpful and valuable. We can help others from the overflow of what God has given to us. We do not need to give what we don’t already have.
Are you in need of comfort? Who or what are you looking to for the comfort you require? I pray you are able to put away the credit card and the chocolate (or whatever your go-to is) and spend time with the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort and experience the peace and hope only God can offer.