Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
–2 Corinthians 1:3-5
It isn’t uncommon to hear cancer patients describe how they were able to face their treatments because a cancer survivor had encouraged and comforted them and, I imagine, that the survivor had felt compassion from another cancer patient and so the blessing continues to be passed on.
Dr. Snyder tells us that Paul’s statements confront life head-on. “Paul is very aware that just as Jesus Christ suffered in this world, so will we suffer, often simply because we’re his followers. But just as we suffer with him, so will God comfort us by him. As the Father loved the Son and comforted him in his sorrows, so he stands by to encourage and sustain us. This is the consistent testimony of believers for the last two thousand years.
“But the circle doesn’t end there. Just as God lifted up his Son and lifts us up in our troubles, so we are equipped to lift up other people around us who suffer. Where does the power come from to care deeply about others when we’re so inclined to think only of ourselves and our own troubles? It comes once again by the Holy Spirit who dwells with and in us.”
TODAY’S PRAYER: Are you overwhelmed by your pain and suffering? First, confess to God your anguish and ask him to grant you the same peace and comfort that he gave to his Son, our Savior. Know that no matter what you are going through, Jesus has already been there before you and is with you now to help you through your pain. Then ask God to help you be a source of comfort to those around you.
Photo by Marc BERGBAUER via Flickr