Comfort In Affliction
In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul says that God is the “God of all comfort.” Paul experienced acute affliction (2 Cor. 1:8-9), but in the midst of it, he experienced God’s comfort.
One of the paradoxes of the Christian life is that we experience God’s grace when we are weak (2 Cor. 12:9). Similarly, we can experience God’s comfort when we are afflicted. The Greek word that Paul uses for ‘affliction' in 2 Corinthians 1:4 is ‘thlipsis’ which literally means pressure or burden. So Paul says that God comforts us in all our afflictions or pressures or burdens. No matter what affliction we face and no matter how severe our afflictions are, God can comfort us. Also, the word ‘comforts’ in 2 Corinthians 1:4 is in the present continuous tense. That means that God continually comforts us in our afflictions. Our friends may comfort us for a certain period of time, but the Lord comforts us unceasingly!
But what does the word ‘comfort mean? The word ‘comfort' appears ten times in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 in the form of a noun or a verb. This word is derived from the Greek word ‘parakleis.’ It doesn’t mean mere sympathy. Rather, it communicates the idea of a person who is called alongside his friend, the one who encourages his friend. The same root word is used to describe the Holy Spirit as well (see Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). Even Jesus is referred to as our ‘Paraclete’ (1 Jn 2:1). God is not indifferent to our pain. He comes alongside us when we face afflictions and comforts us.
There are several Scriptures which demonstrate that God comforts us. Encourage your soul by pondering on these glorious promises:
“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Ps. 94:19)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3)
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” (Isa. 66:13)
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4)
God comforts us in all our afflictions. What a comforting truth!