“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 have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
I just realized when reading this today, the comfort promised is not actually relief from pain, but some kind of relief through the pain. Perhaps the relief is yet to come, or it’s a spiritual kind of relief or maybe even an emotional one. Never the less, it doesn’t indicate the suffering and pain will actually go away.
I might be slow on the uptake, but this is fascinating to me.
It goes on to say this in verses 6 & 7:
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.
Which really reminds me of this, in James 1v2-4:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Since patience means “to suffer long,” it really drives home the truth of God using everything, especially trials to bring about strength, endurance, refinement and maturity. Both passages indicate that God is certainly in it with us, promising comfort while longing to see the work of suffering finish in us.
In everything, God intends us to live in togetherness. In community. The suffering we face is shared by others. The comfort we receive is to be shared with others. When we share in each others suffering, we also get to share in the comfort. This brings glory to God and draws others to Him.
Be open. Be truthful. Share in your suffering so you can share your comfort.