‘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 our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).’
We all like to be comfortable. By that I mean at ease, without pain, and in good health. Comfort contributes to our happiness. It’s difficult to be happy when you are in discomfort. I know this because of certain personal health issues I’ve had over the past year, and there have been times when I have been very uncomfortable, but I praise the Lord; for my situation is improving, and this is of great comfort to me. I am comforted by my God.
In the context of the opening verses penned by Paul the Apostle, ‘comfort’ is akin to ‘consolation’ . The Corinthian Christians were suffering for their beliefs and for their obedience to Christ. Their sufferings were being added to the sufferings of other Christians for Christ’s sake; but it must be pointed out that their sufferings in no way contributed to Christ’s. His death and sufferings alone were sufficient and efficacious for making atonement for all of the redeemed.
After Jesus ascended to His Father, His Father gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples to be their Helper, their Comforter. Here’s the text:’“And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:16-18)”’.
There can be no greater Comforter than the ‘Spirit of truth’, for He comforts us in our hope, which is eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Paul also wrote of the comfort to be had from the Scriptures: ‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).’
The same comfort was spoken of by the writer of Psalm 119 when he wrote: ‘This is my comfort in my affliction. For your word has given me life (v 50).’ And, telling of God’s mercy he continued, ‘Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to your word to Your servant (v 76).’
Writing to the Philippian church, Paul exhorted them to be in accord with him, and ‘of one mind’ , being consoled in Christ and comforted through His love: ‘Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philippians 2:1, 2).’
Of the same consolation in Christ he prayed: ‘Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who has loved and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17).’
Thank God that we are comforted by Him for evermore.