“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (2 Cor. 1:2-5)
Paul tells us of a wonderful aspect of God’s character, that he is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” In a world wrought with pain, hurt, and despair, we have a Father who is the source of all comfort. We serve the God of compassion and love. We have a gracious Father who extends his grace and peace to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s allow the truth of God’s comfort to fill us today. Let’s rest in the goodness of God’s presence and let him minister to us in the many ways we are hurting today.
David tells us in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34 comes in the context of David fleeing from Saul’s persecution. David, in this season of his life, knew all too well what it’s like to need comfort. His circumstances were anything but peaceful. But in this moment, God faithfully delivered him again from the hands of Saul. David writes, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:6-10). David took refuge in his faithful God and found comfort. He placed his trust in the Father of all comfort and found deliverance.
It really is true that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” The same God of David is your God. You are his child. Seek him today that you might “taste and see that the Lord is good!” All of us are broken by our own sinfulness and the sin of this fallen world. All of us are hurting because of the pain, death and disease that continually presses in on us. All of us need the love of our heavenly Father. God is the one who comforts us in all our affliction. There is no affliction too great or too deep or too wide that he is unable to comfort us in. The word ‘affliction’ means pressure, that which presses hard in on us. It is used for pressing grapes to make wine.
Deuteronomy 33:12 says, “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” You are God’s beloved. You were bought at an incredible price. He opens his arms to you today, inviting you to come and find refuge from all the hurt and pain of the world in him. He is most certainly “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…” (Psa. 46:1).
The way of life is hard, pressed, afflicted, oppressed, distressed. Whatever it is that is pressing in on us, threatening to crush us, God is there to comfort us in all our affliction. The God of all comfort, the Father of mercies, is present to comfort us! There is no pressure too big, and there is no pressure too small for him to bring us strong encouragement and hope in the midst of it. Over against all our affliction, he presses into us with his comfort.
And notice that it is pain with a purpose. God presses into us with his comfort over against our affliction so that we are equipped to comfort others. This is yet another problem with the prosperity gospel; those who are living their “best life” now are impotent to give any real help or comfort to those who are suffering. They are Job’s miserable comforters, pointing out why he is suffering and what he needs to change to get out of the suffering. They can offer no real comfort, because they just don’t understand.
God comforts us in our affliction so that we are able to comfort those who are in any affliction. We may think that only those who have suffered in a specific way can comfort those who are suffering in that same specific way. There may be some truth to that, in that someone who has experienced a specific type of suffering is uniquely gifted to identify with others facing that exact same type of suffering, But if you have experienced God’s comfort in any suffering, you are competent to bring God’s comfort to any person facing any kind of suffering.
Run to the Lord today, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).