A L O O K I N T O T H E A P O S T L E ' S H E A R T
We all enjoy experiencing God’s comfort. As we learned last time, God is a God of abundant mercy and comfort, and He delights in comforting us when we are afflicted or under pressure. This is a beautiful and precious promise that should encourage and lift our hearts. But we can’t stop at verse four! The topic of God’s comfort continues on in II Corinthians, and today we’re going to look at the often overlooked part to this truth. So let’s jump right in now.
“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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
~II Corinthians 1:3-5
Wow! What a passage! We’ve already looked at the first two verses, so today we’re going to focus on verse five—the sentence in bold. In this follow-up verse, Paul gives us a math equation, an “if you, then God will” promise. But what is our responsibility?
To share in Christ’s sufferings.
You probably didn’t see that one coming! We already learned that God comforts those who are afflicted, but now Paul is telling us that the more we share in Christ’s sufferings the more we partake of God’s amazing comfort.
There’s one word that really stands out in this verse and that word is abundantly. In the Greek, this word means “to superabound” or “be in excess.” In other words, abundantly doesn’t mean just a little bit or a small sample, it means a lot, much, beyond the ordinary. So in II Corinthians 1:5, Paul is really saying “For as we share [in excess, beyond the ordinary] in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share [in excess, beyond the ordinary] in comfort too.”
That’s some heavy stuff. We like the idea of sharing beyond the ordinary in God’s wonderful comfort, however, in order to partake on that level we must share in excess in the sufferings of Christ. Not a pleasant thought! We want to shy away from the thought of pain, suffering, and affliction, but Jesus promised that if we truly follow Him we will be persecuted. It’s unavoidable. And while we don’t experience persecution to the extent that our brothers and sisters in other countries do, it’s coming. So this promise in II Corinthians 1:5 should give us renewed encouragement. For the more we share in Christ’s sufferings, the more we shall share in God’s perfect comfort.
So take heart, and do not be afraid to share in Christ’s sufferings or experience affliction. For in the midst of the pain, God pours out His divine comfort in abundance, in excess, and above and beyond the ordinary. Therefore, be ready and willing to share in Christ’s sufferings knowing that you also will share abundantly in comfort too.