Vs. 3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” In all circumstances, Paul found reasons to praise the Lord. There was sin in the Corinthian church that had brought much struggle. Paul opens his letter with candid words that reveal the struggles he also faced (vs. 1-11). Some had been questioning his leadership and Paul wanted to take the opportunity to respond. There is a saying, “The higher we climb, the farther down we can fall.” Paul felt these immense pressures (vs. 8) but was able to put his trust in the Lord. I love how Paul was so thankful for many of their faithful prayers (vs. 11). In the latter half of our chapter (vs. 12-24), Paul wrote in response to the reality that he had to change his plans. Some had accused him of being deceiving them for he was not able to visit them has he intended. Paul aptly reminds them that their ultimate trust should be in the Lord and it is the Holy Spirit that is God’s testament of faithfulness (vs. 22). In the end, we must remember that God’s timing isn’t always our timing.
Regarding application…Comfort Others. Vs. 4, “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” The Greek wordπαρακαλέω (comfort) means “called to one’s side to help.” Paul took the time to write this letter to bring comfort for those who had been disappointed or were questioning. It was not by Paul’s might that he could bring comfort, but from the comfort that comes from God. In essence, God’s comfort to us in our suffering can bring comfort to others. Rather than wallow in self-pity, we can comfort each other because we all understand what it feels like to live in this sin-filled world. So the next time we go through trials and tribulations, let’s take comfort in knowing that this will enable us to help others one day.