Nathan Severs shares his thought for the day
God of All Comfort
Good evening. How are you feeling? Afflicted? Suffering? Burdened? Despairing of life itself?
If you’re at all familiar with Paul’s ministry, you’ll know he felt all of these things repeatedly and those he wrote to did too.
2 Corinthians 1 gives us a lens through which to view feelings like this which should result in a different way of dealing with them.
Paul suffered from the time of his conversion to his death; he spent much of his ministry disproving those who said he was a false teacher and suffering the consequences of teaching anything contrary to what the Jews of the day held to. But however he is feeling he can honestly write in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 3 ‘blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort’.
If you’re suffering because of the current lockdown, because you’ve lost some of the freedoms you’ve had all your life. If you’re despairing because you can’t just go out, you can’t just pop round to a friend’s, if you’re feeling burdened because you’re suddenly a teacher of every subject to a range of ages. If you’re feeling afflicted because you feel your set of circumstances leaves you in a worse situation than those around you. If you’re feeling like this, Paul tells us there’s a purpose and there’s a positive outcome.
Be in God’s word
…as we’re comforted by the God of all comfort, we will then be able to comfort others.
Paul says that God is the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction. What’s the primary way He’s going to do this? Through His word and our prayerful response. Can I encourage you to be in the word, listening to what God has to say to you; it’s times like this when it’s so easy to read something and think ‘that is exactly what I needed to read’! Then tell God how you’re feeling, ask Him for wisdom to help you get through and praise Him for who he is – a comforter, a sustainer, a saviour.
We’re in the midst of a virus pandemic. But Paul speaks of the spread of something more positive – as we’re comforted by the God of all comfort, we will then be able to comfort others. So, as you’re comforted, use this to comfort someone else. Employ some pastoral closening to ensure the spread of this comfort. Just do it from a distance!
The outcome of suffering is a pandemic of comfort. The purpose of it is to remind us to rely on God, not on ourselves. As things are taken away; the things we take for granted, the things we think we provide for ourselves, we realise we can’t rely on ourselves. Allow this to drive you to God remembering that He has provided for our greatest need – the salvation achieved through Christ’s death on the cross. We can’t rely on ourselves. We can rely on God.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
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