This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is the word “comfort.” My thoughts are still turning, so let’s see what happens, shall we? Can I get it all in within 5 minutes (and make it make sense without edits)? Probably not, but I’ll try anyway. Ready?
2 Corinthians 1 is a passage I can’t quite wrap my head around. It starts out encouraging enough, but then takes a huge twist. It begins “praise be to… the Father of compassion and God of all comfort” (v 3) which I love. It gives me the warm fuzzies like a mug of hot cocoa/espresso and a soft blanket.
But then it says “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Cor 1:5)
And I just want to say, hold on, wait a minute. I do not like this.
We share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ?
I don’t want that.
Suffering is as repulsive as pet vomit to me.
I run from it.
But here we are, Christians, who share abundantly in Christ sufferings. Or rather, there Paul was. But throughout even Jesus’ teachings it says we will suffer.
People will reject you and persecute you because of me, Jesus says. (Matt 5:11)
In this world you will have trouble, Jesus says. (John 16:33)
We share in Christ’s sufferings.
The only way I can comprehend sharing in Christ’s sufferings is to look at Romans 5 which says we have died with Christ to our sins. They are dead and buried. Except my sin dies hard. I relate far too well with Paul when he writes about doing the thing he hates. (Romans 7)
That brings a fair share of suffering to my life. And that sin is so entrenched in who I am. Sin of jealousy. Anger. Fear. Gluttony. Laziness.
Only by God can that leave me.
And it hurts to be refined.
So whether or not I am suffering in Christ’s sufferings or not, the point of this passage is still that I will be comforted.
Whatever your trial, struggle, persecution, fire, or even death, you will be comforted.
Unfortunately sometimes we have to experience the pain to experience the comfort.
Can we be ok with that?
Alright, I confess, my 5 minute alarm went off 20 seconds ago…
Y’all, I cried huge crocodile tears 2 weeks ago after struggling to comprehend the suicide of our friend. It took me 5 days to allow myself to feel the grief. But it was only through grieving that I felt comforted.
I am going through a trial right now where I feel that God is pulling out the envy and pride from my heart. It hurts and is scary and I have had a few anxiety attacks. But this morning God showed up with his comfort.
Sometimes we have to be emptied of our suffering through tears in order to be filled with God’s comfort.
Before I keep writing for another 5 minutes, what is your source of suffering? What comfort do you need? I encourage you to bring it all before the Father of Compassion. The God of all Comfort.