April 8, 2018
READ: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
As a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God (v.9).
As I waded through a sea of vendors and their handmade crafts at an outdoor market in East Africa, I came across a woman so poor her inventory consisted of only a few cheaply made bracelets. To help her make ends meet, for that day at least, I purchased a few of her items. One of the bracelets I selected had the name “Jesus” woven into it. After paying her, I put it on my wrist and—referring to the name Jesus—said to her, “Sometimes I need a reminder.”
She replied, “Yes, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He is so sweet.” As we talked further, I learned neither poverty nor hardships had stripped her earnestness to proclaim words similar to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, such as, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
I’m certain that as long as I’m on this earth, I’ll never cease to marvel at people like that humble woman who conveyed confident hope and trust in Jesus even while experiencing pain and hardship. Such warriors in the faith are living testaments that the comfort received in Christ isn’t to be wasted, but is instead a merciful gift to be used to comfort others (v.6).
God, wrote the apostle Paul, doesn’t intend for our troubles to only weigh us down. To the contrary, He can mercifully use even the hard times to point others to His comforting presence (v.6).
It can be puzzling and impossibly difficult to find hope and encouragement in times of trial unless we look to the One who offers us comfort in the midst of them. It’s because of Jesus that we’re able to “patiently endure” and share with others the comfort that He alone provides (vv.6-7).
365-day plan: 2 Samuel 13:20-39
Read Psalm 94:19 and consider how the troubled psalmist received comfort from God.
How have you received God’s comfort recently? In what ways can you extend that comfort to others?