The God of all Comfort2
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
This glorious passage comes from the written hand of the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth, and is recorded for our good in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. As I prayed about what to write for our first Elder’s blog, I could think of no better subject than comfort. During the past year (and even further back) at Green Run, there has been much heartache, sickness and death, with even our beloved Pastor Dave going home to be with the Lord. With seemingly overwhelming affliction, it can be tempting to lose heart. Questions such as "why Lord?" "how long?" or even, "where is God in all of this?" may come to mind. But brothers and sisters do not fret, our Lord, the one who sits on the throne, is by our side, and as Hebrews 13:5 proclaims, He will never leave us nor forsake us. God is our Father who loves us with an everlasting love. Through all the heartache and the pain, He has been with us every step of the way. Not only that, but He is using all these things for our good (Romans 8:28). Therefore, we can have joy, in spite of our circumstances.
As we examine a few truths from this passage, I pray they bring you great comfort and joy.
What jumps out to us immediately in this text is the truth that God is our Father. What great comfort it is to know that the God of all the earth is your Father. He loves you with an everlasting love that began an eternity past, was manifested in the present through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and His love will never fade as He will bring us to future glory. Your heavenly Father loves you so much that He has adopted you and made you joint heirs with His beloved Son. The words of Romans 8:32 ring true, He who did not spare His own Son, how will He not also freely give us all things”. And remember, all of this we received not while loving God, but while His enemies. Which brings us to a second truth. He is a merciful Father.
Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. As those who have broken all of His commandments, hating Him at every turn, He should have poured out His wrath on us, but so He could be both just and the justifier of those who believe, He filled His cup of wrath to the brim and His perfectly righteous Son was its recipient. This was done, so that wretched sinners such as us may be made alive in Him. This is mercy that almost should not exist, yet it does, and you, beloved, are its beneficiary. Examining God’s nature as a loving Father and one who has lavished mercy on His children, how can we not be comforted by a Father such as this. With these truths in mind, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16). With reverence, go boldly before your loving Father with every burden.
Lastly, He is the Father of all comfort, not in some afflictions, but in every affliction. You can be assured that no matter what you are experiencing, your eternal Father is comforting you moment by moment. If you doubt this, meditate on His attributes and all that He has done for you, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and His comfort will become more clear. Remember, God understands our affliction because He became one of us. Jesus (God in the flesh) expreciened great sorrow even to the point of death (Matthew 26:38), loneliness (Matthew 27:46), disappointment, Luke (13:34), and anything else we are suffering. Hebrews 2:17-18 tells us, “Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted” And in similar vein, Hebrews 4:15-16 reminds the believer, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” So brothers and sisters, as the Lord has comforted you in your affliction, comfort your family in Christ who are in affliction. Let us bear one another’s burdens, as we look forward to that great day, where there will be no more pain, no more suffering and no more tears. Rejoice, for an eternal weight of glory awaits us, and remember, the sufferings of this present time do not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
May we comfort one another with these words.