All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.2 Corinthians 1:3-7
God is the source of all comfort. We can only truly comfort other people when we ourselves have been comforted. Until we have been through the sufferings and the troubles Paul talks about we can never empathise much less comfort someone else. You know if you are going through something specific you want to find someone who has been through a similar experience rather than someone who is giving you general advice. You want input from someone who knows. Who has been there, done that and survived or has come through it with grace and perseverance. Someone who will give you heart knowledge and not just head knowledge.
Note some things in the text. The source of all comfort is God. Any comfort comes from Him. Any comfort, consolation, compassion or understanding stems from God. Paul makes it clear why He comforts us. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” He wants to use us in the midst of our affliction to be a source of comfort and blessing to others.
Paul’s comments in this section are not pie in the sky theological musings. His understanding on this matter is birthed in the furnace of affliction. More than any other letter Paul has written, in 2 Corinthians he lists his pedigree with regard to suffering. Paul more than anyone else was qualified to talk about God’s comfort. On the basis of that experience he says, “For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.” Paul has had enough opportunities to test all the theories. He says each time we go through the suffering or testing for Christ, God Himself comforts us. He knows personally the comfort of Christ and he knows how to share it. Do you?
I know for me personally before I started going through hard times my advice to others was “canned Bible”, the kind of clichéd Christian responses that don’t really help at all. People don’t want “canned Bible”, they want to know we care. They know we care when they know we have walked a mile in their shoes.
You never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.Ian Vail
Before you criticise and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.Joe South
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.Jack Handey
I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.Anon