“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble from the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”—-2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
Kelly Minter, in her “All Things New” Bible study and DVD series, has been rocking my world this week.
We have been talking about suffering and comfort in our Bible study. Kelly uses the above passage to describe how God is our great comforter, and when suffering flows into our lives, so does God’s comfort. In fact, Kelly uses an illustration (page 20) of the two rivers that flow into the Amazon (The Meeting of the Waters). One is light brown like coffee with cream, the other is dark. She showed photos of these rivers flowing side-by-side, for 6 miles of the Amazon, not mixing, but flowing together. Different densities, temperatures, speed, and content keep them separated. Yet they move together. She used this powerful image as an illustration for God’s comfort and suffering—they are always flowing together in our lives as Christians. We will have suffering, but Christ’s comfort is always flowing with it, providing us peace and God’s presence, no matter how bad things get.
I have been pondering those images and this Scripture the last two days. Can I say that I see that in my own life?
So I went looking for evidence. I am a writer and I also journal about my life. I have many journals that go back a number of years, and I write in them pretty regularly. I dug them out yesterday and went back to some tough times of suffering in my life from several years ago. I started reading through two years’ worth of words I had written about my experiences, the sufferings we endured, and I specifically looked for comfort flowing through those experiences. Lo, and behold, it was there! As I turned page after page, I saw evidence of God’s comfort in our lives, through people, Scriptures I had recorded, words in sermons, books, events, circumstances where God brought the exact right person across my path when I needed it most! I have evidence that this Scripture is true!
I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s comfort truly flows in the midst of our sufferings. I also realize there were times when I just couldn’t see it. As I look back now, upon pages of my heart poured on paper, I can see it in bold clear print—God WAS there, God DID provide comfort each step of the way, and God continues to do so now.
And so I share these experiences with you, inviting you to look back at your life and what has transpired. How have you seen God’s comfort flow with your sufferings? How has God brought that word, or person, or experience, or circumstance into your life, to bring comfort?
Thank Him and Praise Him for it. Open your eyes and pray for sight if you can’t see it. And know that He will never leave you nor forsake you. No matter what you face or are going through, God’s comfort flows into your life, and you can also share that comfort with others!
Prayer–“God of all comfort, I thank you for how you are daily present in my life. Even though I sometimes shut you out or ignore your presence, You are there. Thank you for your comfort over the years, how I can see it boldly as I look back, and know it is with me as I move forward. Thank you for giving me the eyes to see it. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”