When I started investing time in prayer for others this is one of the first passages that gripped me. I found it while praying for the grieving. Now, it is a comfort to me and inspires boldness to comfort others.
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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV (emphasis added)
Our God is the God of all comfort. He comforts us in ALL so that we may comfort others in ANY affliction. We do not have to have an experience to be an instrument of the Lord’s comfort. We can share abundantly in comfort.
We should be generous with the Lord’s comfort. Available to give it. Making an effort to give it. Reaching out to give it. Showing empathy. Showing care. We can stay ready to offer and share comfort.
Sometimes comfort is met with suspicion and violence (2 Sam. 10:2, 1 Chron. 19:2). Other times, people are poor comforters (Job 2:11). Still, comfort makes whole, coming by faith (Matt. 9:22, Lk. 8:48). Comfort comes when we know Christ calls us close (Mk. 10:49). People try to give comfort when a loved one dies (Jn. 11:19).
When the sons of Jacob sold Joseph into slavery and executed a plot to say an animal killed Joseph, the sons were unprepared for the depth of Jacob’s grief. Jacob was inconsolable. Though all his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, Jacob grieved hard for Joseph (Gen. 37:35).
Clockwise from the top left, the photos are on Unsplash by Annie Spratt, Hian Oliveira, Rosie Fraser, and Gus Moretta.
We can speak the Lord’s comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). The goal is to make sure that in the Lord’s church, we give and receive comfort (2 Cor. 13:11). The Lord shows care for his people and after intense times of battle commissions voices of comfort (Is. 40:1-2). The Lord comforts and transforms (Is. 51:3).
The love of God comforts, shows affection, and sympathy (Phil. 2:1-2). Comfort is a corporate activity; we do it as we build one another (1 Thess. 5:11). Comfort considers those who need spiritual courage (1 Thess. 5: 14).
Comfort is ministry. The Lord is able to comfort our hearts and establish us in every good work and word (2 Thess. 2:16-17). I exhort us to bravely share God’s comfort. Holy Spirit will help us comfort all who mourn (Is. 61:1).
God’s guidance and correction comfort his people (Ps. 23:4). God’s comfort can cheer the soul when the heart is overwhelmed (Ps. 94:19). When enduring affliction, God’s promises give life; this is the Lord’s comfort (Ps. 119:50). His constant and steadfast love comforts us (Ps. 119: 76).
The comfort we share is of the Spirit (Acts 9:31). Let’s break agreement today with the divisive teachings that say we are incompetent or ill-equipped to comfort if we have not suffered the same. No! God comforts us in ALL affliction so that we may be able to comfort others in ANY affliction. That is, we have an example or frame of reference for how comfort should be ministered. Because God shows us how to comfort, we can bravely go and minister comfort. The ministry of comfort is necessary, now and always.
Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the lead contributor for The Bereans’ Commentary.
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