A friend mailed me some of her homemade pottery. Upon opening the box, I discovered the precious items had been damaged during their journey. One of the cups had shattered into a few large pieces, a jumble of shards, and clumps of clay dust. After my husband glued the broken mess back together, I displayed the beautifully blemished cup on a shelf.
Like that pieced-together pottery, I have scars that prove I can still stand strong after the difficult times God’s brought me through. That cup of comfort reminds me that sharing how the Lord has worked in and through my life can help others during their times of suffering.
The apostle Paul praises God because He is the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). The Lord uses our trials and sufferings to make us more like Him. His comfort in our troubles equips us to encourage others as we share what He did for us during our time of need (v. 4).
As we reflect on Christ’s suffering, we can be inspired to persevere in the midst of our own pain, trusting that God uses our experiences to strengthen us and others toward patient endurance (vv. 5–7). Like Paul, we can be comforted in knowing that the Lord redeems our trials for His glory. We can share His cups of comfort and bring reassuring hope to the hurting.
Lord, thank You for using us to provide comfort, encouragement, and hope to others who are suffering. We praise You for all You’ve done, are doing, and will continue to do to comfort us through our own afflictions.
God comforts others as we share how He comforted us.
The Greek word for comfort (paraklesis) means “to come alongside and help.” Jesus is called our parakletos (advocate) in 1 John 2:1. The Holy Spirit is another advocate or comforter (John 14:16). Paul asserts that God is “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). The triune Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is there with us in our pain. By saying God is the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 2–3), Paul thereby reminds us that coming alongside to help each other is a family duty and privilege (v. 4).
To whom can you be a parakletos—a comforter—this coming week?