Overflowing Comfort

from Lynda Lindsey

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. II Corinthians 1:3-5

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. II Corinthians 4:8-10

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day any day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4:16-18

God isn’t stingy or mean, doling out His comfort in miserly amounts. In Christ we receive comfort overflowing all boundaries, like a river overflowing its banks or jars of olive oil filled to overflow during harvest. God, desiring that we not be left as orphans, generously gave us the Comforter, His Holy Spirit, as our guide, teacher, and friend. Yet the Spirit’s role for us is so much more.  The Holy Spirit, living within us, conforms and transforms us, making us more like Jesus. The Spirit strengthens and fortifies, making us strong and brave, enabling us to fight the good fight of faith. 

We learn by our sufferings and trials to draw on and receive help and comfort from God so that we don’t lose heart, become discouraged, and give up. We learn to stand strong and steady so that when we are hard pressed, perplexed, and struck down we are not crushed, in despair, or destroyed. God designed us to live purposefully, intentionally for Him, helping others along the way; this ability to comfort others gives our life, and our sufferings, purpose. Now instead of feeling isolated in our troubles, we see a grand design: what can I learn from this that will keep me close to Jesus and help others at a later time? Praise be to God, we who have been blessed with God’s overflowing comfort are then able to comfort others with the comfort we’ve been given!

Don’t lose heart. Our troubles here, though they seem overwhelming, are light and momentary in the light of eternity! Stand fast. Focus. See not with here-and-now eyes; rather see with heaven-eternity-focused eyes. Be heartened; strengthened, made brave.  As Paul so eloquently states, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” God’s overflowing comfort to us yields overflowing thanksgiving! Praise be to God!