2 Corinthians 1 Lesson

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 through 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 seen 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, often in 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 cold and 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 Suffered

  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.

Being a Christian comes with its challenges. We know 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.

The most important takeaway from today’s lesson is the perspective that we get from these two verses:

  • “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.

  • “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.

Our character is formed not so much by the events of our lives as it is by how we react to them.

The more we turn to God in our time of need, the more we will be comforted:

  • “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 1:5.
  • “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7.

To summarize, God allows us to suffer in this lifetime. The suffering that we will experience is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven! If we turn away from God, He will turn away from us.

John Calvin wrote, “We are not brought to real submission until we have been laid low by the crushing hand of God.”

When we submit to God and put our trust in Him, He will protect and strengthen us. We will conclude today’s lesson with the following verses of encouragement. Whatever life may throw at us, there is nothing that we cannot get through with God's help.

  • “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” - Psalm 46:1.
  • “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” - Psalm 34:19.

For additional lessons from Virtual Bible Study on the topic of suffering, click on any of the links below:

Suffering

Suffering is to be expected

Suffering. Bad things will happen to good people

Suffering and spiritual development

Suffering: Jesus' example

Comments

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