Do you need comfort today?
Five times in this passage Paul uses the word “comfort” – and everywhere we look in this passage, there is comfort. The source is God himself, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”. Comfort is something we receive from God. God’s comfort is there for us “in all our troubles”. God’s overflowing generosity to us is highlighted; Paul says, “our comfort abounds through Christ”.
God generously pours out his comfort into our lives so that God’s comfort for us might overflow from our lives to bring comfort to others in trouble: it is not something we keep to ourselves. We have all the comfort we need and more, so that others might experience God’s comfort too.
How can we access this comfort? Well, like all of the good things that God longs to give us, the answer is “through Christ”. But here is where the discomfort comes: Paul writes that, “we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ”, even as he reassures us that “so also our comfort abounds in Christ”. We cannot have Christ without suffering. And we cannot have God’s comfort without Christ.
Jesus did not bypass suffering but endured it for us. Following Jesus, we will experience suffering, but alongside that, we have this wonderful promise that, in following Jesus, God’s comfort will abound in our suffering.