The God Of All Comfort
“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
How To Travel Through Trials
One of the most important processes that a believer must learn is the ways and means as to proceed in times of sufferings. It is a simple fact of life that every believer will face difficult and tumultuous times. No life is exempt. No heart will pass through this life minus the scourging efforts of the enemy of our souls. Situations will get out of hand. Loved ones will discourage us. Fellow believers may disappoint us. Our faith will be placed into the crucible of the “fiery furnace” to see whether or not it is genuine. So the fact of trials demands that believers should understand something about them. In II Corinthians 1:3-11, Paul helps us in this regard.
Blessed Be God
One of the most important truths to recall when going through a difficult period is the truth that the believer always has a reason to praise the Lord. Praise that is truly directed by God will always bring a reciprocal moving of the Holy Spirit within the heart. We give God praise for both who He is and what He has done. We recognize Him as the Father of all mercy or compassion. In my lostness, He reached down and saved me. So I say, “Blessed be God.” How many numerous times has He come to my rescue at the least feasible moment? “Blessed be God.” He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. “Blessed be God!” As I praise Him for being the merciful Father that He is, the Holy Spirit comforts me inwardly. Thus, He retains the title of the God who comforts. In fact, He is the God who will never fail to comfort if I willingly look to Him in my time of need (Phil. 4:4-7; Isa. 26:3; I Peter 5:7). He is the God of all comfort.
Recognizing A Purpose In Trials
There is never a singular reason for every or any trial. As believers, what we should be sure of is that no trial or circumstance ever takes our heavenly Father by surprise. He is always aware of and in control of those things that affect the believer (I Cor. 10:13). But in this passage Paul declares that one beneficial outcome of successfully traversing through a trial is that the experience might benefit others. Once we have learned how to rest in the mighty hand of God, we will have hands-on experience by which we may encourage others. In fact, the details of our trial do not need to be a spot-on match with the situation another believer is going through. It is enough that in our time of difficulty, we have learned to rely upon God. We can share how the Lord buttressed and supported our faith. We can tell how He comforted us through the activity and presence of the Holy Spirit. And we can encourage another to use the processes of faith and praise that we ourselves used during the time frame of our dilemma.
A Testimony Of Intense Pressure
Paul had his own story to tell. Most Bible commentators point to the events of Acts 19 as the time Paul speaks of in II Corinthians 8-11. Paul was greatly burdened and concerned about happenings in the church at Corinth. Then, the townspeople of Ephesus where he was pastoring—unbelievers and tradesmen that had been financially ill-affected by the entrance of Christianity to Ephesus—caused a riot. Luke does not go into much detail about the events in Acts 19. On the surface it doesn’t seem to have been a big deal, but according to Paul, it was a monumental attack. Paul said he was “pressed out of measure” (II Cor. 1:8). This describes an intense amount of pressure that was applied to the heart and life of Paul and his companions. He states that he was pushed “above strength”—he was literally experiencing that which, in the natural, was too great to bear. He goes on to say that they “had the sentence of death in ourselves,” and that they “despaired even of life.” It may have not seemed like much to the casual reader of Acts 19, but to the apostle Paul and his companions, they thought that the time of their deaths was at hand.
God The Deliverer
But then Paul goes on to say that the God he serves came through for him. Another learning process was experienced. He learned, once again, that faith in self was futile. God took him to a place where he could not trust in any effort of his own to resolve the problems. As Paul encountered the strong blows and gale forces of the enemy, God stood up and quieted the storm. Paul then declared that he serves a God who has delivered him! He is also the God that is currently delivering him and taking him through whatever it is that he is presently facing. He is also the God that will deliver him from every enemy in the future. Even death will have to bow before the power of the living God that Paul served.
Pray For One Another
Paul closed out the passage by thanking the Corinthian church for their prayers on his behalf. One of the greatest things we can do is to lift up another brother or sister in a time of trial. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things. We need to use the access to the throne room of God for something other than the mentioning of our own personal needs. God, the God of all comfort, the Father of mercies, will hear our petitions for one another. He who has delivered and is delivering will deliver again. Blessed be God!