Topic “Comfort Shared”
Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon
Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:4
We can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Today’s Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 1:3–8
The Greek word for “comfort” in 2 Corinthians 1:3 (paraklesis) means “coming alongside to help or encourage.” Jesus is our parakletos or advocate (1 John 2:1). The Holy Spirit is another parakletos (John 14:16–17, 26; 15:26; 16:7). This word is so rich in meaning that Bible translations and paraphrases use various words to translate it: “Helper” (esv), “Counselor”
In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul says that God is the parakletos par excellence—“the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” It’s of great comfort to us that every person of the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—are with us in our pain. In directing us to look at the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3), Paul reminds us that coming alongside to help each other is a family duty and privilege (v. 4).
When my daughter Hayley came to visit me, I saw her three-year-old son, Callum, wearing a strange piece of clothing. Called a ScratchMeNot, it’s a long-sleeved top with mittens attached to the sleeves. My grandson Callum suffers from chronic eczema, a skin disease that makes his skin itch, making it rough and sore. “The ScratchMeNot prevents Callum from scratching and injuring his skin,” Hayley explained.
Seven months later, Hayley’s skin flared up, and she couldn’t stop scratching. “I now understand what Callum endures,” Hayley confessed to me. “Maybe I should wear a ScratchMeNot!”
Hayley’s situation reminded me of 2 Corinthians 1:3–5, in which Paul says that our God is “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.”
Sometimes God allows us to go through trying times such as an illness, loss, or crisis. He teaches us through our suffering to appreciate the greatest suffering that Christ went through on our behalf on the cross. In turn, when we rely on Him for comfort and strength, we’re able to comfort and encourage others in their suffering. Let’s reflect on whom we can extend comfort to because of what God has brought us through.
Reflect & Pray
Whom has God helped you to comfort through your own experiences of suffering? What can you do to help them appreciate Christ’s suffering on the cross through their pain?
God, help me to experience Your comfort in my sufferings and to become a source of comfort to others.