A Life Of Comfort

Posted: July 23, 2011 in QT's
Tags: ,

Creature comforts; most of us have and enjoy them. Most of us desire and seek after more of them. I’m talking about the things that make our lives easier and well, more comfortable. Take a moment to consider the things that you possess that make your life more comfortable. What are they? How do they benefit you? What did or do they cost you? Are they worth the cost? I’m not bashing on creature comforts I’m just asking the questions. Some things are probably of great benefit to you and well worth the cost while others are simply luxuries that if you were honest, you would say you could live without. This is certainly true in my own life. For example, air conditioning is pretty valuable to me right now and worth the cost although I will most certainly gripe about my next electric bill. As I look out the window I am extremely grateful for this comfort. It’s easy to be grateful for the things that make our lives easier, but what about the things that make our life more difficult? Can we be grateful for them as well? If so how; and why would we want to be?

The Apostle Paul gives us the answer to these questions in a passage of Scripture that has brought me much comfort over the years. It’s found in the opening verses of 2 Corinthians and it goes like this:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 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. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Cor. 1:3-10, ESV)

Okay, there’s so much in this passage that I want to share but I will keep it brief and only point out a few things that are really standing out to me right now. We have talked about the comforts of life and I have focused your attention on things that bring us comfort by making life easier but, according to Scripture, there is a comfort that is infinitely more valuable; a comfort that comes only through suffering and comes only from God and those who know him and have received it themselves.  So, can and should we be thankful for our hardships and sufferings? The answer is yes for a couple of reasons. One, through suffering we are brought nearer to God. It’s through suffering that we learn to depend on him and that we realize just how real his presence is with us (I’m speaking to believers). Paul says that he and his friends thought they we’re going to die, but even so, they trusted in God who could bring them back to life again and who has already promised to do so at the resurrection. They realized that whatever may happen to them in this life, this life isn’t all there is and there are good things coming to those who have placed their trust and hope in Christ. He has and will deliver them.

Another reason we can be thankful when we face difficult times and hardship is that God will use us to minister to others in their time of need. When we have suffered and been comforted by God we are better able to simply love others with the love of God when they face difficulty in their own lives. We are to be stewards of our suffering and God’s comfort. No one knows what you’re going through like one who’s been there and whatever you’re going through, God’s been there and so have many of his dear saints.  Remember “On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Cor. 1:10b)

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