“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.” Isn’t it wonderful to have a relationship with the “God of all comfort”? Yet many of us misunderstand what it means to find comfort in God. God wants me to live a comfortable life, right? To have no troubles and for things to be easy and nice? God has something better in mind – to comfort us amidst all our troubles. When we follow our own ideas and wait for God to deliver the comfortable life, we let our trials and struggles drive us away from him, blaming him for not giving us easier, “better”, more comfortable circumstances. Jesus actually assures us that “in this world, you will have troubles” (John 16:33). But he goes on to say, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” A relationship with the God of all comfort means that God doesn’t withhold worldly troubles, but that he is right there beside us in the midst of it all, never to forsake us, but to be our comfort. How comforting it is to look to a friend when things are hard! God is that eternal friend, the one in control of all things, who works all things together for our good – even when we don’t understand them. Can we trust that God is good when we don’t understand? What a mistake it is to let trials in life drive us away from the God of all comfort – they should drive us to the Cross, to Jesus who suffered abundantly on our behalf, so that he could give us abundant comfort: “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (verse 5). We have an intimate participation with him in both suffering and comfort, so that we can know him more, and then pass that comfort on to others (verse 4). The God of all comfort does not call us to the comfortable life, but to live for him in such a way that we desperately need him for comfort. In this we will experience the greatest joy and true comfort in Christ.
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