“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 of our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
This has been a passage of Scripture that I have turned to often. When I am in a difficult situation and need to be encouraged, this is the passage I turn to. I pray that this will also encourage you in your trials.
I remember when I was going through a difficult time with fear and panic attacks, I would try to talk to my dad about it but he was not to encouraging with me. That was probably because he had never experienced a panic attack. So, it helped me a lot to listen to others who had gone through fear and panic attacks because I could relate to them.
When it come to trials and difficulties, the Apostle Paul is no stranger. This man suffered all of the time. That should not be a surprise to us because in Act’s 9:16 says, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” And suffer he did. To set up the background of Paul’s situation, in the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul is bearing his soul. This is his most personal letter out of them all. There have been false teachers who called themselves ‘super apostles” who were trying to slander Paul and ruin his reputation, and one of the things they were saying to the Corinthians was, “look at how much he suffers?” “God is punishing him for being fake. He is not an apostle.” So, Paul begins this letter much different than his first letter to them. He begins with a doxology. (A praise to God) And I want us to see three things that will encourage us as we go through trials.
- In our trials, God is the Father of mercies. The word mercies in the Greek is oiktermos which means “to have compassion on.”
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lam 3:22-23
What a joy to know that our God whom Paul calls Father is a father who has compassion on all of His children. Some of us have had dad’s who were not compassionate, but our heavenly Father is a Father of mercies and has compassion on us in our trials.
Paul also said that God is the God of all comfort. Notice Paul doesn’t say, “He is the God of some comfort.” Or “a little comfort.” No. God is the God of all comfort. I remember as a kid. When I would get into a fight or hurt myself playing, I would always run to my mom. Why? Because she comforted me in my pain. She would wipe my tears off of my face and tell me it is going to be ok. Well, God in the same way does that to us in our trials. He has promised us according to Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” Whatever you may be going through, God will use that for your good. I know it is difficult to see it now, but one day you will look back on this trial and see how God used it for your good.
- In our trials, God comforts us. This word means to “strengthen” It is the Greek word parakaleo and it means to come along the side of another and help them. This is the word for the Holy Spirit. In our trials, God comes along side of us and strengthens us to be able to endure the trial. This is why Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Paul understood that wherever he found himself was because God had put him there. He knew that since God put him there, he could endure it because God will strengthen him to endure it. (2 Cor 1:8-10)
- Why does God comfort us in our trials? So that we could comfort others. Our trials are not just for us. God is using our trials and comforting us in them so that we can be an encouragement to others in their trials. Maybe you were addicted to drugs and God healed and delivered you from that. Now what? Go and comfort others who are struggling with addictions. Whatever you have gone through, let that be motivation to go and help others who have gone through what you went through.
I also want to encourage you about the things you did before you came to Christ. Maybe you still feel guilty for things you have done. Maybe you feel shameful because you had an abortion, or because you lived a homosexual lifestyle, or maybe you were in prison because you murdered someone? Whatever it might be. You do not have to feel guilty or shameful anymore. Why? Because Jesus took all of that and nailed it to the cross with him. “As far as the east is from the west, so far have you removed our transgression from us.” (Psalm 103:12) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17)
What a Savior! The next time your enemy reminds you of your past, remember that you have been forgiven of past, present, and future sin. Let that slander of your enemy bring you to the cross where his love and forgiveness was demonstrated for you. He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.