Words of Comfort
Saint Paul, who wrote one-third of the entire New Testament, suffered incredible persecutions for the work of the gospel. In his second letter to the church at Corinth, he wrote that some of the things he endured included being beaten with the lash and with clubs by Jewish leaders and Roman officials, he was shipwrecked, stoned almost to death, robbed, imprisoned, cold, naked, abandoned, betrayed by his friends, weakened by hunger and thirst, and he was constantly anxious for the welfare of all the churches he had planted (2 Corinthians 11:16-33).
He wrote, “Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about the suffering we experienced in the province of Asia. It was so extreme that it was beyond our ability to endure. We even wondered if we could go on living. In fact, we still feel as if we’re under a death sentence. But we suffered so that we would stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God, who brings the dead back to life. He has rescued us from a terrible death, and he will rescue us in the future. We are confident that he will continue to rescue us, since you are also joining to help us when you pray for us. Then many people will thank God for the favor he will show us because many people prayed for us” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 GW).
Paul’s focus was not on how much he suffered but on the comfort that he received, and was able to give, through Jesus Christ. He understood that suffering is never what we ask for but that when it comes, God is always with us to comfort us and he will always turn what we suffer to the good.
Paul illustrated this when he wrote to the Corinthian believers, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who is compassionate and the God who gives comfort. He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God. Because Christ suffered so much for us, we can receive so much comfort from him. Besides, if we suffer, it brings you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, we can effectively comfort you when you endure the same sufferings that we endure. We have confidence in you. We know that as you share our sufferings, you also share our comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 GW).
Beloveds, when we suffer, we know we have a Comforter who has experienced suffering as we have and who will never leave us nor forsake us. The God of all comfort has given us his Word to help us to endure times of trial. He does not leave us comfortless and he does not leave us as orphans. He abides with us, forever.
Like Paul, we have confidence in Christ, that even when we experience suffering, God is with us to see us through. He will use everything we endure to strengthen and shape us as instruments of his peace.
It is our prayer that these scriptures will comfort your hearts and encourage you to become a comfort to others, in Jesus’ name:
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4 ESV).
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10 ESV).
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27 KJV).
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 KJV).
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words… because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28 ESV).
I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11 GW).
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2 ESV).
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5b ESV).
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 ESV).
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 ESV).
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified (Isaiah 61:3 ESV).