2 Corinthians 1:3-5
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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. 5For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
There was popular song in the 1990s by the band R.E.M called “Everybody Hurts”. It was a melancholy tune that set forth the idea that in this life there is no way to escape pain and suffering. I especially like the lyric below:
‘Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don’t throw your hand. Oh, no. Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone
Notice how this this lyric closely mimics today’s verses from 2 Corinthians 1. Reading these verse this morning I was struck at what the Apostle Paul was saying. I think many times I grasp the ideal that just as Jesus suffered that we must also suffer, but what I fail to grasp is just as Jesus was comforted so too shall we be comforted. What is truly interesting and what the R.E.M. song captures is that the comfort we receive when we are suffering will often come from those who have suffered before us. Notice how the Apostle Paul lays it out in verses 3-4:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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
He says the Father comforts us in our affliction, so that we may comfort those who are in any affliction. This is power stuff in that it demonstrates our position as ministers one to another. God has not abandoned to an isolated life of pain and suffering. He has put those of us in Christ into a harmonious union where we are able through our sufferings to comfort each other.
So what’s the application? For me the application is that I need to establish a correct view of the suffering I experience in my life. I need to understand that as I share in the sufferings of Christ I also share in the comfort that comes through that suffering. I need to be more attuned to my ability to minister comfort to others. I also need to be more receptive to others who are ministering comfort to me.
Brothers and sisters in Christ we have an obligation to take care of one another. We do not suffer in isolation. Let us be on the lookout for those who need ministering to and may we be the vessel through which the suffering are reminded of the comfort and peace that comes from our great God and Father through Jesus Christ.
Father, thank you for this day and this opportunity to examine your Word. Father, I pray that you would open our eyes to those suffering around us. Empower us and motivate us to be ministers of your comfort. Help us in times of suffering to endure knowing that suffering allows us to minister comfort. Thank you for many blessings. We offer you praise. In Jesus name, amen.