2 Corinthians 1 Lesson

Suffering And Comfort

SUFFERING AND COMFORT

In today’s lesson, we will be talking about the related topics of suffering and comfort.   You may be asking yourself, “How are suffering and comfort related?”

The answer to that question is found in today’s focus verse:

  • “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 1:5.

Based on the above scripture, followers of Jesus can expect two things:

  1. To suffer,
  2. To be comforted.  

As you read the book of 2 Corinthians, notice how Paul reveals his human side.   In this letter, Paul talks about his sufferings and defends his reputation.  

Paul suffered greatly while serving the Lord as detailed in the following scripture:

  • “Are they servants of Christ? —I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, oftenin danger of death.  Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.  I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in coldand exposure.  Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.” – 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.

The Apostle Paul’s Sufferings

  1. Imprisonment,
  2. Beatings,
  3. Being shipwrecked,
  4. Sleepless nights,
  5. Hunger,
  6. Thirst,
  7. Being subjected to harsh weather,
  8. The daily pressure of the concern he felt for all the churches.  

KEEPING SUFFERING IN ITS PROPER PERSPECTIVE

Being a Christian comes with its challenges.   In reading the scriptures, we understand that suffering and persecution will come at some point.   Paul’s second letter to Timothy tells us this:

  • “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12.

And as we live our lives for the Lord, we must meditate on God’s word and keep our suffering in its proper perspective. The following two scriptures will help us do just that!

  1. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18,
  2. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9.

Whatever suffering God permits us to endure while on earth, it is nothing compared to the glory that awaits the faithful followers of Jesus!!

Heaven is forever!!   To prepare us, God allows us to be tested, just as He did Jesus. God also disciplines those that He loves (Hebrews 12:6).  

Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:

  • “But we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

COMFORT

As we have read, suffering is part of life for the Christian. So is comfort. As you read the following verse, try to think of a time when God comforted you.

  • “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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” –2 Corinthians 1:3.

In this verse, Paul refers to God as:

  1. The Father of mercies,
  2. The God of all comfort.

These verses tell us that God’s mercy and comfort are greater than any other. Google Dictionarydefines mercy as, Compassionor forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm."

And as we take into consideration all that we have studied so far in today’s lesson, we come to the following two points:

  1. God will not stop us from going throughadversity. He uses the tough times in life to teach us, to discipline us, and to help shape us into the people that He created us to be. Suffering is an important part of being a Christian. God did not spare His own Son from suffering. He did not spare the Apostles. So why would we think that He would spare us? Expect to suffer in this lifetime. But not in the next!
  2. As “The God Of All Comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3), God is able to ease or eliminate our feelings of grief or distress. The Apostle Paul talks about, “The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,” (Philippians 4:7). In other words, God can provide a feeling of peace that is indescribable. A pure and complete form of peace that we have never experienced before. Even in times of suffering, our God is the God of all comfort!

CONCLUSION

Suffering and comfort are related because through Christ, we will experience both. The Bible tells us that not only will we have both suffering and comfort in our lives, we will have it in abundance!

  • “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 1:5.

It is a challenge for our human brains to try and comprehend how we can be suffering and comforted at the same time. That is the power of the almighty God! That is the peace that Paul wrote about to the Philippians and referred to as, “The peace that surpasses all comprehension.”

We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture about peace:

  • “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33.

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

Can you think of a situation where you suffered and experienced God's comfort as you went through it?

Reply
John

Amen!

Reply
Drexel Deal

These two scriptures below really stand out for me:
“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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2nd Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 NKJV.

The above scriptures help us to appreciate that God empowers us, He comfort us and He strengthens us so we can do the same for others.

When we as Christians begin to take a sincere interest in those around us, the entire Body of Christ is better from such care and attention. It takes nothing away from us to offer an encouraging word, a smile or to just sit in for someone who really needs a break. Yet, from these simple acts of kindness we benefit ourselves, as James Keller stated;
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

This simple truth from the above quotation helps us to understand, that the light from one candle doesn’t go dim from lighting another candle. More importantly, with the additional candle being lit the illumination from both candles will cast a brighter light; enabling all to see better and further into the dark. It is impossible to be a blessing to someone in need, without walking away better from that simple act of giving. I conclude my comments by quoting Dhiraj Raj who stated;
“If you light the others life with love, happiness and peace then God is there to light your life with divine gifts and blessings.”

Reply
Michael
Drexel Deal

Great comments Drexel. Reminds me of a co-worker that always would say, "If it is to be . . . . it's up to me."

We are the foot soldiers of Christ.

Reply