Comfort in Tribulation
2 Cor. 1:3-7
We all experience hard times. Call it tribulations, troubles, sufferings, afflictions or trying times, the feelings is the same. It hurts. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, rich or poor, strong or weak, healthy or not. We all face problems that sometimes discourage us or make us feel down, maybe even depressed. Paul the Apostle also shares the same feelings like us. Despite of his being so faithful to the Lord, he encountered many hard times and now he is telling us what the Lord did to him, He gave him comfort. What the Lord did to him He will also do to us for a reason.
Illustration 1: Christ is sufficient
One night while conducting an evangelistic meeting in the Salvation Army Citadel in Chicago, Booth Tucker preached on the sympathy of . After his message a man approached him and said, “If your wife has just died, like mine has, and your babies were crying for their mother, who would never come back, you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying”.
Tragically, a few days later, Tucker’s wife was killed in a train wreck. Her body was brought to Chicago and carried to the same Citadel for the funeral. After the service the bereaved preacher looked down into the silent face of his wife and then turned to those attending. “The other day a man told me I wouldn’t speak of the sympathy of Jesus if my wife had just died. If that man is here, I want to tell him that Christ is sufficient. My hear is broken, but it has a song put there by Jesus. I want that man to know that Jesus Christ speaks comfort to me today.
Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 10
I. Description of God here: (2 Cor. 1:3)
A. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – Paul praise the true God who revealed Himself in His Son who has the same essence as He is. Christ is the anointed one who redeemed us. The God who humbled Himself and become a servant to die in the cross for our sins.
B. He is the Father of mercies – There are many aspects to Bible mercy such as kindness, forgiveness, compassion, This term characterizes God’s actions and feelings toward fallen humanity. It is God’s compassion for the miserable.
C. He is the God of all comfort – Comfort in Greek combines two words: para (along side) and kaleo (to call). To comfort is to answer someone’s call, to walk alongside, to cheer, guide, and defend that person. Its noun form, parakaleiton, was often used of a legal counsel or “advocate” in a trial (See 1 Jn. 2:1). Thus, each member of the Trinity is a comforter.
1. God the Father (2 Cor. 1:3, Isa. 49:13)
2. God the Son (Jn. 14:1, Isa. 61:2, 2 Thess. 2:16)
3. God the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7)
II. Comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-7)
A. To comfort answer his call and walk alongside him to cheer him, and on occasion, to defend him. The Greek word was often used in court of justice to denote a legal counsel for the defense, one who would plead another cause (1 Jn. 2:1). Its meaning and application defend on the context.
B. Comfort is more than condolence and consolation or sympathy. It is the help of God who comes to our side in sorrow and affliction. He gives us inner peace.
C. The Other source of comfort:
- The Scriptures (Rom. 15:4)
- Preaching (1 Cor. 14:3)
- The ministry of Godly preachers (2 Cor. 1:4, Eph. 6:22; Col. 4:8, 1 Thess. 3:2)
- The fellowship of the brethren (1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11, 14)
D. The Giving and Timing
- God comforts us in all our tribulation (2 Cor. 1:4)
- As it is written, God does not leave us in times of need.
a. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5)
b. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to bear (1 Cor. 10:13)
c. Even in “the valley of the shadow of death”, He is there to comfort us (Ps. 23:4)
d. There is no trouble in which God cannot give comfort. There are times when troubles hits us so hard that we wonder if we will ever have peace and joy again, but God can give comfort in “all” our troubles. Many troubles are beyond the ability of the world to comfort. Like Job’s friends, so the world is often unable to comfort, but God is never unable to comfort you
E. The sufficiency of Comfort – “Comforteth us”. Men have many substitute for God but they all fail. God gives comfort when the world cannot. The world has their parties, alcohol, drugs, entertainment industries, philosophies, etc., to comfort in times of trouble, but they do not do the job like God’s comfort. Why seek the comfort of the world when you can have God’s comfort for free? God’s comfort is better than anything the world has to give. Fellowship with God is the remedy for the suffering of all who like David, looked for comforters but found none (Ps. 69:20).
F. The greater the affliction, the greater the comfort (2 Cor. 1:5)
1. As the suffering abound:
2. So does the consolation! “Our consolation also aboundeth in Christ”. The word translated “consolation” speaks of comforting and encouraging, Barnabas was called a “Son of consolation” (Acts 4:36) because he was such an encourager to the believers. When you suffer for living for Christ, you will be comforted and encouraged. God will see to it that you are comforted in spite of the suffering, and you will be encouraged to keep going trough though the suffering seems to be defeating. This promise is made only for our suffering for Christ not for all suffering.
Illustration 2: They Wept Together
Once during Queen Victoria’s reign, she heard that the wife of a common laborer had lost her baby. Having experienced deep sorrow herself, she felt moved to express her sympathy. So, she called on the bereaved woman one day and spent time with her. After she left, the neighbor asked what the queen has said.
“Nothing,” replied the grieving mother. “She simply put her hands on mine, and we silently wept together”
III. Purpose (2 Cor. 1:4, 6-7)
A. To comfort others “that we maybe able to comfort them which are in any trouble”. God prepares us adequately to serve Him. Some of the preparation may be very painful, however. He puts us through some painful troubles, so we can help those who are experiencing like troubles.
B. It is God’s purpose to make us comforters. God does not want us sitting around doing nothing. He has work for all of us to do, and one of those works is to comfort people. The fact God gives us troubles to help us comfort others tells us that in our text, God is exhorting believers to do some comforting. No one can give comfort like a believer. He knows the God of comfort and the power for comfort, and unless you know these things, you cannot give real comfort. So, believers are not only enabled to comfort, but our text exhorts them to do some comforting.
C. Paul shows that all his trials were for their welfare, and would turn to their benefit. He suffered that they might be comforted; he was afflicted for their advantage.
D. “It is for your consolation and salvation”. Paul endured sufferings for the purpose of promoting the salvation of men, and that of the Corinthians, together with others, would reap the benefits of his trials. He endured hardships in order to spread the gospel of salvation to all men.
The Triune God is the God of all comfort. Man seeks comfort for all the world has to give but it will never be as good as God’s comfort. It is my prayer that all of us would seek only comfort from the God of all comfort. All of us are exhorted to comfort one another. Will you do your duty to do so? You should.