Comfort in Suffering
4 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. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 2 Corinthians 1:4-7 NKJV
Paul is telling us that his suffering was for the comfort and deliverance of others. This is a hard concept for us to understand, as none of us want to endure suffering in this life. However we do live in a fallen world and there will be situations that arise in this life that are at odds with His promises. Paul was able to see beyond the unpleasantness of the moment, and see the deliverance of the Lord. But Paul also realized that in this suffering he would have the comfort of the Lord, and through those moments he would be able to share comfort, the Lord’s comfort of truth, with others.
We can expect to suffer on occasion in our lives in this fallen world, but like Paul we can also expect comfort, encouragement and deliverance in this life through Jesus Christ. And through that deliverance others will be won to Jesus. Paul could say this because no matter what his situation, he had the joy of the Lord. Even when he was in a prison cell he had such joy that when the prison doors were supernaturally thrown open, Paul did not even leave. Paul was joyous no matter what he faced in life because Paul always saw Jesus.
The same is true for you and me in this present life. We also can have that joy and peace that Paul had if we so choose. The joy of the Holy Spirit is residing in you right now. We choose what we will see. Paul saw the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord and so he knew that every trial he endured would be of benefit to others whom he could encourage.
Have His joy and you find His comfort, peace, encouragement and deliverance. How you handle the trials of life not only affects your future faith walk but the faith walk of others. Endure the tribulations of life receiving His comfort and watch others look to Him in theirs.
J Todd Hostetler