“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.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God comforts us in all our trials and troubles. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? God is always there for us. He sees everything we go through, stands beside us with His Big, Powerful Arms around us and comforts us through the worst of times.
The word “tribulation” is thlipsis . It comes from the word thlibo , “to crush, press, compress, squeeze,” which comes from thlao , “to break.” The word in 2 Corinthians means “a pressing, pressure.” It is anything that burdens the spirit. It speaks of tough times in a person’s life; things that oppress and afflict. Other translations of thlipsis , include “suffering, hardships, persecution, affliction, trials, anguish, hard pressed, severe trial, tribulation.” What God is comforting us through are the toughest times we face.
Why does God do that? He loves us. He wants us to be joyful and successful. But that’s not the end of it. God has another reason for comforting us: “that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
God has a phenomenal plan for helping people. He places His Holy Spirit in us, comforts us in all of our troubles so that we can comfort others in any trouble they face. Not just the little problems people face, but any of them. That includes the biggest and worst trials. How do we accomplish that amazing feat? “..with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
The unsaved world is looking for something real. They need to see real people who have dealt with real problems and gone through them successfully. The world needs to see God’s Strength. How do they see that? Through us! Through our lives! They watch Christians go through the worst kinds of pressing troubles. They see how we handle it. They see the strength and confidence we have in times of deep affliction and tribulation. Then they are open to what we have to say.
How do we learn how to comfort others? We can go to college. We can attend special seminars. We can read the latest books on the subject. But the best way to learn how to comfort another person is to call on what God taught us as we were going through tough times. We comfort others “with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Think back for a moment to a time of recent trouble in your life. Remember how you felt? Remember what you thought? Remember how God comforted you through His Word, His Spirit. Remember how He answered to your prayers? Remember how much you needed Him? Remember how much you depended on him? Remember what you said to Him during that time of trouble? Remember what He said to you that gave you the most comfort?
Use that knowledge and experience as you minister to the needs of others. Use the comfort that God gave you to guide you in comforting someone else. Let the comfort of God flow through you to this other person. Stand close to them. Pray for them. Listen to them. Place your arms around them as you listen. Speak softly and strongly. Show your support as you show them the way through the problem. Be honest with them. Don’t hold back the truth because it might offend them. The Truth will make them free. Always be humble and kind. You’ve been in trouble before. You know what it’s like to have someone around you who is unfeeling, prideful and even mean in what they say. Be gentle and patient. The ministry of comfort can take a lot of time.
Teach them about God and how He loves them. Show them in the Word that the comfort you give them comes from God Who is the “God of all comfort.” If they are not Christians, introduce them to the Loving Savior. If they are Christians, encourage them to live fully for Christ. Remind them that Christ is “in” them and they are “in” Christ. They are as close to God now as they will ever be.
Encourage the people you comfort to use the comfort God gave them to comfort others. It’s a wonderful circle. God helps you to help others who help others who help others who help others. And God is glorified in every way as do! It’s God’s way of reaching a world with His Love and Strength. You and I are the great beneficiaries. We receive God’s comfort during our toughest times. We comfort others with the comfort God gave us. We rejoice in seeing them comforted and reaching out to others. The cycle continues until an entire world has heard of Christ and seen His power through the lives of His people.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for comforting us through our toughest times in life. Today, show us someone with whom we can share Your comfort. Help us be a blessing to many in the weeks and months to come.”
In Christ’s Love and Grace,