[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble. 2 Corinthians 1:4
Radamenes was just a kitten when his owner dropped him off at an animal shelter, thinking he was too ill to recover. The kitten was nursed back to health and adopted by the vet. He then became a fulltime resident at the shelter and now spends his days “comforting” cats and dogs—just out of surgery or recovering from an illness—through his warm presence and gentle purr.
That story is a small picture of what our loving God does for us—and what we can do for others in return. He cares for us in our sickness and struggles, and He soothes us with His presence. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians calls our God, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (1:3). When we are discouraged, depressed, or mistreated, He’s there for us. When we turn to Him in prayer, He “comforts us in all our troubles” (v. 4).
But verse 4 doesn’t end there. Paul, who had experienced intense suffering, continues, “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Our Father comforts us, and when we’ve experienced His comfort, we’re enabled to comfort others.
Our compassionate Savior, who suffered for us, is more than able to comfort us in our suffering and distress (v. 5). He helps us through our pain and equips us to do the same for others.
When have you experienced God’s comfort during a difficult time? When have you offered God’s comfort to others?
Dear God, thank You for Your comforting presence in my pain and sorrow. Help me in turn to be a comfort to others.
Scholars believe Paul wrote at least four letters to the struggling group of believers in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 5:9–11, Paul alludes to a previous letter in which he warned them against associating with “anyone who claims to be a brother or sister [in Christ] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.” In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul refers to a letter written between 1 and 2 Corinthians. “I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears,” he said of this missive (v. 4). Apparently, he used strong words in that letter in order to correct a problem of gross immorality in the church. This shines additional light on Paul’s opening words in 2 Corinthians, the last of the four letters. His timely words of comfort and encouragement in 1:3–7 show genuine love and leadership.
Visit ChristianUniversity.org/NT224 to learn more about the letters of First and Second Corinthians.