3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. –2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Paul endured much hardship in his life. Affliction and suffering were his constant companions as he traveled on his missionary journeys. Troubles did not cease after he encountered Christ on his way to Damascus. Indeed, they seemed to escalate rather quickly. He was stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, imprisioned. A thorn in his flesh never gave him rest. He constantly is diffusing problems in churches he planted. Paul had every reason to be hopless and feel sorry for himself.
Despite these circumstances, Paul found refreshment, contentment and ultimately comfort in God. Likewise, whatever circumstances of suffering we endure, we can have confidence that, like Paul, our God is the source of comfort. It is a comfort that endures, perseveres, and heals. Godly comfort does not always end up looking or feeling like we imagine it will when we are in the midst of suffering, but when it hits our head and our heart, there is no doubt.
The cool thing here is that we are not comforted so that our lives will be smoother or our problems will be fewer or so we can feel relieved. I mean, there are a multitude of ways being comforted by God impacts us, but here Paul highlights the idea that God comforts us so we can be used by him to comfort others who find themselves in a similar tough spot.
Intellectually, we know where we should look for comfort and security when difficulties come our way, but living that out, taking ever thought captive, putting our hope in God is not always our default. Some instances we think it is a self-induced problem we have to figure out ourselves. Other trials seem out of our hands, too many variables involved and simply easier to give up. Some afflictions we scramble our brains to think of solutions and try to manufacture things in our own wisdom and strength. But this Scripture is also incredibly life giving in that it reminds us that no matter what we endure in the fallen world, God is everpresent in all of our troubles. Nothing too big or too small or too complex or too far gone. He is able to comfort us in ALL our troubles because he is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort!