by Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort…” (II Corinthians 1:3). What a wonderful title, “the God of all comfort.” In Romans 15:13 He is called the God of hope and in I Peter 5:10, the God of all grace.
What an encouraging message is given us. God is holy, He is powerful, He is sovereign, but He is also merciful. He provides comfort for the troubled, hope for the discouraged and grace for unworthy sinners.
God’s people stand in need of comfort because trials are to be expected. Job said, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
There are some troubles that are common to all men because we live in a fallen world under the curse of sin, but there are some troubles that are unique to the Lord’s people. Jesus informed His disciples that the world would hate them. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). In our day when a person takes a stand for biblical truth they are often accused of using “hate speech,” and in some parts of the world the faithful followers of Christ are being imprisoned and even put to death because of their testimony.
Some have incorrectly concluded that if you follow Jesus your path will be made smooth and prosperity will always be enjoyed. But Jesus made no such promise. He made it plain that the cost of serving Him needs to be calculated before the journey begins. Afflictions and trials of many kinds will be experienced by true believers.
But God has a purpose in bringing trials into the lives of His children. David said, “It was good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71). In his days of trouble David had learned to appreciate the commandments of God. He had been humbled and brought to submission so that His walk with God was strengthened.
When the burden is heavy and the pain is great, it is difficult to see how God is going to bring something good out of our experience. We become weary of the burden, frustrated because of the delay in experiencing some relief but our heavenly Father is mindful of all our struggles and remembers our frame that we are but dust.
His purpose is always a good one even though we cannot see it. His purpose is to consume the dross and refine us for greater use in His kingdom. His purpose is to show us our weakness and bring us to greater dependence on Him. His purpose is to remind us that this world is not our home and we should be looking to that city on the other side.
In the darkest and most difficult times, God comforts His people. He comforted Paul by the coming of Titus. “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (II Corinthians 7:6). He sometimes comforts us through other believers. He comforts through His word. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). He comforts us through the Holy Spirit who gives us peace that passes understanding. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
The comfort that may be sought from other sources will prove to be ineffective but let us always turn in every hour of need to the God of all comfort.
© Baptist Bible Hour
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