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Summary: One of the many paradoxes of the Christian life is that the grace of God is most keenly experienced not in the best but in what seems to be the worst of times. However much the Christian longs for exaltation it is when he is humble he receives grace.

2 CORINTHIANS 1: 3-7 [GAINING PERSPECTIVE Series]

THANKSGIVING FOR GOD’S COMFORT

One of the many paradoxes of the Christian life is that the grace of God is most keenly experienced not in the best but in what seems to be the worst of times. However much the Christian longs for exaltation it is when he is humble he receives grace (2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Pet.5:5; Jas 4:6). [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983 S. 554.]

So Paul urges all sorrowing and troubled hearts to find strength in God. Paul knew that God bestows comfort for he had been recipient of it in his afflictions. When the Christian experiences affliction he finds God’s comforts which enables him to comfort others (CIT).

I. THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT; 1:3-4.

II. SUFFERINGS INTENDED RESULT; 1: 5-7.

[III. THE HOPE OF DELIVERANCE; 1:8-11.]

With a burst of praise to God for comforting and encouraging him, Paul begins his letter in verse 3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of Mercies and God of All Comfort,”

Paul introduced this letter with a blessing and now blesses the Blesser! He wasn’t blessing God because of his difficult circumstances but was blessing God because He is worthy to be praised even in difficult circumstances. This word blessed ( ) is used in the N.T. only of God. Blessed is an expression of highest esteem and thanksgiving.

Paul’s uses three titles or names to address his blessing to God. The first is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is our mediator with the Father. Jesus humbled Himself in His incarnation and placed Himself in dependency upon the Father. Next he addresses God as the Father of Mercies. Mercy here [from , meaning to pity] is the feeling of compassion that goes out in seeing another’s distress. He is the originator from Whom all mercies flow (Ps.103:13f). God’s mercies include deliverance from the world, sin, and Satan, and fellowship with the Spirit in truth, light, and life.

The third title listed is the God of All (or every) Comfort. The Greek word [para-klsis] literally means “to call along side” or “to be close,” thus to comfort or encourage. [The paraklsis root occurs ten times in vv. 3-7.] The English word comfort comes from the Latin confortis which means “to brave together.” It has the idea of standing beside a person to encourage him while he is under testing. The same word is used by Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit as the Comforter or Paraclete (Jn. 14:16; 16:7) meaning “one who stands alongside and helps.” The thought is that God is the Divine fount of all consolation to His people. He is the God of All Comfort not only by delivering us from evil or by ordering our external circumstances, but chiefly by the inward influence of His presence on the mind and heart which casts out the tumults and fills with joy and peace.

You never know when you'll need the Lord's comfort the most¬ for there will be a time when God's care will be your only hope of facing tomorrow. One day in 1932, pianist, singer, and songwriter THOMAS DORSEY discovered his need for God's com¬fort. He left his pregnant wife Nettie at home in Chicago while he drove his Model A to St. Louis to sing at a revival meeting. All went well, and the crowd responded enthusiastically. After Dorsey had finished ministering, he received a telegram with the trag¬ic news that his wife had died in childbirth. Within hours, the baby boy also died. [JDB. Our Daily Bread]

Filled with grief, Dorsey sought answers. Should he have stayed in Chicago and not gone to St. Louis? Had God done him an injustice? A few days after Nettie's death, Dorsey sat down at the piano and began to play. Finally sensing God's peace and closeness, he began to sing some new words and play a new song:

Precious Lord, take my hand, Lead me on, let me stand;

I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; Through the storm, through the night,

Lead me on to the light; Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

Paul also found genuine comfort in God. You will too. As you go through difficult times, real storms, immense challenges, you will find[, even as Paul found,] that God is a God of comfort. You will discover that He is the Father of mercy, who will comfort you.

Is there a problem too big for you to handle alone? Or a grief too great to bear? Let the "God of all comfort" lead you home.

Verse 4 states that we have been graced with encouraging comfort so that we might encouragingly comfort others. “Who comforts [encourages] us in all our affliction [tribulations] so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort [encouragement] with which we ourselves are comforted [encouraged] by God.”

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