Having Comfort In The Midst of Afflictions
Text: 2 Corinthians 1
Introduction to the Book of 2 Corinthians
The book of 2 Corinthians was evidently written for the Christians at Corinth. Paul wrote this letter while he was still in Macedonia (2Cor 8:1-14; 2Cor 9:2). This also means that this letter was probably written after a year of writing the 1 Corinthians.
Some of the main topics that can be noted in this book are:
1. Paul’s sufferings and trials in Asia.
2. Accusations against him and how he answered it.
3. Problems inside the Church.
This book is a typical letter of Paul where he gives salutation as to whom it is intended to and where the letter came from, Paul.
The letter seems not be too formal in form. But it tackles some issues inside the Church and how they are suppose to deal with it.
Introduction to the Passage
The passage that we will be discussing today talks about the afflictions of Paul and how he sees it. We can see here God’s grace working in his life along with other Apostles. We will be learning that trials and afflictions are not new. Even strong and fervent Christians suffers from it. But how are we suppose to treat it? How are we suppose to solve that problem?
Truths Of God’s Comfort
God comforts us in all our troubles
Whenever we face trials or problems, we always seek comfort from friends and other people whom we believe that can comfort us. However, there is a great comforter that comforts us even without other people. Please take note how Paul made a statement, “ God comforts us in all our troubles.” He comforts us not only in “some” troubles, but for all troubles we are suffering.
Furthermore, we also have to take note of Paul’s theology here. He said that it is God who gives comfort to all our trials. Going back to the book of John chapters 14,15 and 16, we can see there that Jesus says that the Comforter that will come will be the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can again see the essence of the Holy Trinity.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Whenever we face trials and temptation, we can see here that there is an invitation for comfort. There is an invitation for a rest. If we will not respond to that invitation, then how can we ever experience the comfort that God gives to us.
We are to comfort others
Being comforted does not mean that we have to keep it for ourselves. We also have to share it. We need to take note that almost everything that Jesus taught us, he means it to be shared with others. So as evangelism, working, kindness, compassion, etc.
Comforting others in their times of troubles shows our compassion and our love for them. Comforting is not only sympathizing, but also empathizing. Sympathy is more like doing what others are doing because of affinity or relationship. For example, an office mate died. You go to the burial and spend time with the family because you sympathize with them in their grief.
On the other hand, empathy is all about putting yourself in the shoes of the people affected. Going back to the example, if we go to a burial of a friend, and start crying along with the family because of your close relationship with the deceased person, then it is empathy. It is more like experiencing the feeling of another.
Christ’s comfort is overflowing
One thing is so unique with Christ’s comfort, it is overflowing. It literally means that when God comforts us, he does not only deliver us through our trials but he also gives us hope. God gives far more than what we ask for and imagine. God’s comfort is a product of his grace that He lavished on us.
Going back to Matthew 11:28-29, tells us to carry the yoke that Christ wants us to carry for it is lighter and easier to carry. Jesus assured that in Him, there is a rest of our souls. Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn for they will find comfort.”
Where there is comfort, there is rejoicing. Who in this world experience comfort that does not rejoice? And Christ gives an overflowing comfort. A comfort that no one can match.
But let us go back to what Paul is saying. “For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. But if we are afflicted,1 it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer.”