by Shelly Weiss
From 2 Corinthians 1 --3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[a] behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Recently, my niece accidentally hit my nephew in the eye during a pillow fight. After my brother lectured the 6,4 yr olds on why they shouldn’t play so rough, he turned to find Alex with his pillow in position to whack Amanda. When Mark asked why he was preparing to hit Amanda again after he just told them to stop, Alex replied, “’Cause you should do unto others as they do to you.”
Unfortunately, this misquote from Alex is how we are tempted to live our lives - at least I am. When someone helps me during hard times, I make sure I am there for them in their time of need. But with those who I feel abandoned me, my hurtful pride convinces me I don’t need to be there for them.
Of course, this is wrong. Scripture tells us God comforts us so we can comfort others. He doesn’t just comfort us because He loves us, He comforts us so He can use us to comfort His children.
This passage goes on to declare Paul’s hardships during his missionary journeys to Asia, reminding me that doing God’s will does not ward away all our troubles. Unlike Job’s friends, Paul does not say hardships indicate disobedience or lack of faith. Instead, he discloses his troubles as an indication of his need to constantly rely on God. Perhaps Paul’s great work for the glory of God was due to his need to remain close to Him in his many troubles.
Between health issues, family matters and job woes, I never give my Lord a break! I need Him constantly and ask for His continual presence throughout my day. He always comforts and refreshes me, not for my sake but for the sake of others. And this is why I write – in hopes of encouraging the oppressed and releasing the captives all for the Glory of God.
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