God of All Comfort

November 26, 2012

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

God of All Comfort

Perhaps we have heard it said that what we endure and go through is not for just for ourselves, but it is to equip us to minister life, blessing and comfort to others in their distress and tribulation. It is one thing to preach and teach something out of head knowledge, but when you have already passed through the fires that someone else is currently in, then the weight of your ministry and comfort increases dramatically, because experience outweighs knowledge. It is from our experience that we have gained the knowledge of God’s comfort, strength and sufficiency that was there for us in our time of need.
If Jesus, the Son of God, was made perfect through the things that He suffered, then it tells me that a part of God’s working grace in and through me will come through suffering. There are many different kinds of suffering and each one of them is able to reveal and bring forth God’s grace in that situation. The comfort and strength we find in our tribulations is a supernatural one, because it is an attribute of Papa; that He is a God, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
The apostle Paul makes the statement, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” Suffering is a topic that much of the Christian community likes to side-step, because it is much more positive to talk about blessings and prosperity, but we do an injustice to the body of Christ if we neglect this part of the Christian walk. Paul says that he shares in the sufferings of Christ. We know that Jesus suffered as much or more than any other man. What is suffering, but our weakest, most painful and vulnerable moments. It is when we are hurting and our weakness is most evident. Those are the times we can find our God to be our greatest comfort and strength. Those are the times we lean most heavily upon His mercies to give us the endurance to overcome, persevere and find our ultimate victory in Him. It is out of these desperate places that we glean the consolation we can minister to others as they face these same hardships. When I see what you have gone through and how God has been faithful to you, then my faith and hope are increased, for what He has done for others, He can do for me.
What is an overcomer, but one that has walked through tribulation and suffering, in the strength of the Lord. In that weakened dreadful state, we often feel like anything but an overcomer, but it is in that place that we reach the deepest to lay hold of the revelation of Christ in us, the hope of glory. We are brought to the painful awareness of how utterly weak and frail we are in the natural, but in that place we find a strength, a comfort and confidence that is not our own. It is birthed out of the divine life that resides within. It is God that gives us the ability and strength to continue on when everything within us wants to give up.
We may be crying out, “To what end Lord must I continue to suffer and endure?”
He replies, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in you, so your consolation also abounds by Christ toward others.” You are prepared to be the instrument of encouragement, hope, faith and salvation to those who follow in like manner of sufferings.”
Paul, like Jesus, was a man quite acquainted with tribulation and suffering, but he makes the statement in Romans 8:15-18, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus said, “Now am I glorified.” What preceded that glorification was an immense and intense suffering.
1 Peter 4:12 bears witness in that it says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
We have often been made to feel condemned, less spiritual or worthy it we are going through trails and sufferings, like real Christians shouldn’t have to endure such things. If that be true, then I guess Christ and the early Christians weren’t very spiritual or we are neglecting a component that is inherent in our faith, that of suffering, tribulation and trials.
It is these very components that seals and solidifies our faith; that takes it from words and concepts to faith in action. Faith will never be proven real until it is tested. When we found God’s faithfulness in the midst of our testing then we likewise have the ministry of mercy, consolation and comfort to encourage other through their moments of tribulation and trials. It is in passing through the fire that we walk into the glory.

Blessings,
kent

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