Today was such a nice leisurely morning. I got up with the ‘Littles’ and let Marianne sleep in. We had a slow start with a lingering restful time of reading together and enjoying the laughter of these little chickens (Prim and Brooklyn). Around lunch time we started to make snowflakes that we then hung up over the window looking out onto the backyard…everyone did such a great job!
5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 [ESV]
Today’s quiet time and reflection on God’s Word continued with ‘God’s comfort and the comfort we give to others’ but now Paul pulls in our Lord Jesus Christ into the picture to show that ‘Being in Christ’ not only includes participating in His suffering but also in His comfort. As the Body of the Church of Christ we share in these things together which is what Paul was trying to encourage the Corinthian church with.
Paul also goes on to say that if (when) we are afflicted, it is for our comfort and salvation. God wants us to draw into Himself; He knows that He is the best thing for us, but we must discover and recognize this need. I believe that God allows trials, affliction, and difficult times to fall on us so that we might turn toward Him. When we do this, He grows our faith by pouring out this comfort Paul speaks of here.
The next crazy part of what Paul says here is that you get comfort when you ‘patiently endure’ suffering. Paul knows what suffering is – he has been chased, imprisoned, persecuted, and even dealt with some physical ailment he calls ‘a thorn in his side’. So, he closes this thought by telling the church that from his own experience, that when they suffer as he suffers, they will also receive the same comfort he has had.
The first thing I must ask myself is “am I a follower of Jesus who patiently endures suffering”? I can honestly answer this by saying “No…but I need to be”. Because I am a person whose flesh is easily tossed by the waves of circumstances and situations, I must remember to quickly move into a posture of prayer and openness to the will and purposes of God that have me in the situation/circumstances that cause suffering. I also must be looking for God’s hand of comfort, acknowledging it, and receiving it with gratefulness and love for Him.