The God of All Comfort

by Wayne Barber

The Apostle Paul was a man who loved Christ and lived as His "bondservant." Consequently there were those, particularly the religious minded, who did not treat him very nicely. In fact, they criticized him and sought to discredit him in any way they could. But Paul knew where to find the comfort he needed! He ran to the God of all comfort!

In Second Corinthians, Paul starts his letter with thoughts of God's comfort. One of the most meaningful things about the truth of God's comfort is that it is available all the time. God is always there to comfort us in the times of distress that we will go through down here on planet earth as His children. "Who comforts us in all our affliction" (2 Cor 1:4).

  Paul speaks from his own experience. The word for "comfort" is parakaléo\, meaning to come alongside, to be called alongside, to come alongside in our times of need to help us get through the difficult times. The beautiful thing is that it is in the present tense and the active voice. Thus Paul gives testimony to the fact that the God of all comfort was always near him, comforting him in times of need; the active voice means that this is God's choice to do so. What a glorious truth!!!! Christ lives in us to always be there to comfort us in all situations that we face! Paul is giving a testimony of what he has discovered.

Thilipsis, the word for "affliction" is used 34 times in the New Testament. Thilipsis conveys the meaning of severe emotional distress that is caused by external pressure. Paul went from one stressful trial to another. He records some of these in 2 Corinthians 11.

But Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that God was always there, giving him the help he needed to get through! The "all" in  "all our affliction" refers to each and every trial and all of them put together!

We must get used to the fact that it is not always popular to walk with Christ and to allow Him to live through our lives. Hard, stressful, difficult times will come on us, caused by people who want only to please their flesh!  But God will be with us, just as he was with Paul! Hebrews 13:5 tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us! There is no trial for which there will not be His comfort!

But Paul also speaks in verse 4 of the ministry of our comfort: "who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction." It's amazing how going through difficult times and turning to God for our comfort opens our eyes to those around us who are also suffering!

It is so exciting to know that God never wastes experiences in our lives, but instead, so orders them that we might learn to be sensitive to others in their times of distress. "So that we might be able." "Able" is the word dnamai, which means to have the ability to do something.

You mean, Wayne, that my trials are not just for me to get through but for me to be comforted by God so that I might learn to comfort others? You got it! "So that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction. Paul covers all manner of stressful, hurtful situations one might be going through! He shows us that unless we have been there and received the comfort of God ourselves, we aren't going to be sensitive to those who are around us who are also going through affliction.

The key is not just the fact that we all suffer but the fact that we have turned to God and received His comfort! This makes us candidates to minister to others who are hurting!

Open your eyes! There are people all around you that are hurting! If you have been there and have received the comfort of God, ask Him to open your eyes so that you might be sensitive to those around you! No man is an island! We need one another!

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad