“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4
When you suffer, how do you react? What are your thoughts toward God and toward those around you? What questions do you ask?
In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul defended his worth as an apostle. In the church at Corinth, divisions were happening and there seemed to be a great lack in understanding how a church should operate. Paul contended with them in love, desiring for them to live a life worthy of Christ. The members were not unaware of what Paul had endured through his life as a missionary. They knew the price he paid to give them the Gospel message, to disciple them so that they would know the depths of God’s love.
Paul knew what persecution felt like, unfortunately from both Christian and unbeliever alike. But as we read in this chapter, we see that he viewed his suffering as beneficial. The more he suffered, the more he was comforted and was able to comfort others. And Paul wanted the Corinthians to do the same.
Paul relates how he and his associates were pressed and sentenced to death in Asia, and how did he respond? I believe he saw what was happening to him as an opportunity for God to be glorified, and that faith proved to be well placed since God delivered them. In relating what happened, he pointed out the Corinthians’ part by how they prayed for Paul and his associates.
What an example to us.
I am, by nature, an adventure seeker. Over the years, I’ve been thrilled to see God’s hand protect me, provide for me, and work through me. I confess to be someone who is willing to jump off the cliff if I believed God said, “Jump!” simply because I have seen time and time again that the ‘adventure’ of the fall gives great opportunity to see God at work. But I can also account for many times when my faith was weak and, shamefully, I missed out on what God had for me.
I want to have that faith and that courage Paul demonstrated. I want to be able to face the trials and tribulations of life with a song of praise and a battle cry that leads to the shouts of victory. For I’m merely passing through this world, and while I pass through, wouldn’t it be wonderful to draw some others along with me? I’d love to be a part of a company of believers whose faith made them face the lions in Ephesus and sing in the jail at Philippi.
Okay, maybe I’m not so excited about the beatings, but I want to know the comfort of the Holy Spirit and His healing touch…and if that means hurting a bit to get it, well I think it would be worth it.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18