The God of Comfort – Greg Albrecht
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. —2 Corinthians 1:1-7
In verses three though seven of The first chapter of 2 Corinthians, the word or idea of “comfort,” either as a noun or as a verb, occurs nine times, complemented with words such as compassion, patience and hope. The words “suffer” and “sufferings” occur four times, illustrated and modified with other terms such as trouble, distress and endurance.
The idea of divine comfort Paul is talking about is the picture of someone standing with another, as that person endures pain and hardship. It’s the work of God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, as Jesus called him, in the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of the Gospel of John.
Paul assures us that no matter how great the sufferings we may endure, our sufferings are matched—in fact, they are more than matched—by the comfort God provides. The comfort God gives us by his grace will never be overwhelmed or outweighed by our suffering.
And Paul tells us that the comfort God provides to each one of us is not given for the purpose of terminating in our lives. God’s comfort does not flow down a cul-de-sac, a dead end street. Those of us who receive God’s comfort are equipped so that we might act as his tools, his hands and feet, to reflect and radiate that very same comfort to others in need.
We receive God’s grace, and his comfort, so that we might, in turn, pass on that same grace and comfort. God blesses us that we ourselves become channels and conduits of his grace. We dare not attempt to take his comfort and hide it in a napkin, as did the servant described in the parable of the talents. By definition, Christians comfort others with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Not so long ago I read about Kris Hogan, a high school football coach who comforted others with the comfort he himself had received. You may have seen the television series Friday Night Lights—based on a high school football team in Odessa, Texas—out in West Texas. Friday Night Lights explains how important high school football is in the state of Texas.