“The God of All Comfort”
In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The Christian life is marked by rest from striving and straining for God’s approval, but that’s not to say it’s a breeze. If you’ve been a believer for more than a few days, you know the challenges God’s people face. Walking by faith is difficult when sin, temptation, death, and hell confront us at every turn.
This is the context of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. He himself has faced such affliction and suffering that his own apostleship is called into question! Perhaps, like him, you have faced trials that have exposed your heart to pain—whether as a direct result of your faithfulness to the Lord or as a challenge to that faithfulness. It isn’t an exception but rather the expectation that believers will face “trials of various kinds,” as James 1:2 tells us. In light of this, it may seem strange that God’s people should also expect comfort and encouragement, and yet this is precisely Paul’s point in 2 Corinthians 1:1–11, which is our text this Sunday.
He opens his letter by blessing “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Cor. 1:3–4). These are not merely attributes of God’s character but titles—he is the God of all comfort, the Father of mercies! As we’ll see, this has a lot of implications for his people, and I hope you’ll come eager to draw encouragement from God’s Word this Sunday.