A channel of comfort
Bible Studies for Life
August 13, 2017
2 Corinthians 1:2-7
That bed was so comfortable! These jeans are so comfortable! The new sofa is so comfortable! We have all said or heard those words.
When we think of comfort, the first thought that comes to mind is that comfortable pillow, blanket, chair, etc. We talk about comfort foods – the foods that bring back warm feelings. For me it is hot chocolate and cinnamon toast; for others it might be mac and cheese. When Paul talked about comfort in 2 Corinthians, he was taking comfort to an entirely different level than our casual use of the word! What we think of as “soft and cozy,” Paul thought of as “active involvement.”
The word used for comfort in describing God in 2 Corinthians 1:3 is paraklesis. It means so much more than just providing a comfortable place to land. It is encouragement, help, exhortation, strengthening, sustaining, assurance, resolve and intervention. It is Isaiah 51:12a and 22a, (NIV), “I (the I AM), even I (the I AM), am he who comforts you. … This is what your Sovereign Lord says, your God, who defends His people.” It is God giving us the strength to face the troubles of life with unbending resolve and unending assurance. That is comfort, and that is the model for the believer to follow. Paul thought it important enough to use the word ten times in just this one passage!
How can we be a channel of comfort? It will take more than a hug (although hugs are always nice.) It is helping that friend who just lost a job find a new place of employment. It is helping that student who is failing a class find the help needed to excel in that same class. It is taking as many meals as necessary to that person who is going through chemo. It is what Jesus talked about in Matthew 25:35:
You fed Me, clothed Me, visited Me and looked after Me.
Comfort means getting involved, getting messy, getting in the trenches and helping a fellow believer do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20, NIV). When we give comfort, the I AM gets involved, the One who defends His people.