Comfort Now

Believers in Christ will suffer grief along with the rest of the world, but they will also enjoy comfort, even in this life. Will they receive back their dead loved ones? No! Will they always get a second chance, or have their losses restored? No! Or will they always understand why pain and suffering has befallen them? Again, No! But in the midst of continuing sorrow, they will know the presence of God’s consolation. Paul, who endured more affliction more than almost any man, rejoiced because of God’s abundant comfort. He knew, first, that his sufferings and subsequent experience of God’s comfort, would enable him to comfort others who were afflicted (2 Corinthians 1:5-7). God also used others to bring relief to the apostle. When he was worried about the reaction of the Corinthian Christians to a strong rebuke he had sent them in a letter, the coming of his friend Titus to him with news of their continued affection brought him great comfort (2 Corinthians 7:6). He rejoiced also to learn that the Corinthians had been comforted by the Lord after they repented of their sins (7:13); we, too, can find joy when our fellow believers receive God’s mercy for their transgressions. Likewise, when he learned that the Christians in Thessalonica had endured persecution without losing their faith, his soul was greatly comforted (1 Thessalonians 3:7), and this helped to strengthen him in his own sufferings. Thus, knowing how the believers in Ephesus worried about him as he languished in a Roman prison, Paul sent Tychicus to them to reassure them of his good spirits and safety (Ephesians 6:22). Others can do only so much for us, however. That is why Paul urged the believers in Thessalonica who mourned the death of those close to them to comfort each other by reminding each other of the sure promise of God to raise the dead who had trusted in Christ when the Lord returns (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Indeed, our sure source of strength amidst the trials of this life comes from the Scriptures, which contain so many words of hope from a God who can be fully trusted (Romans 15:4-5).