Since the entrance of sin into the world, the way of man has been anything but easy. Job seemed to have his finger on the pulse of the matter when he wrote, “… man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” It is interesting though, that when calamity strikes, men are quick to blame God, or to ask why He allows such occurrences in their lives. But shall we blame God for what man has brought upon himself? God forbid! Man is a product of his own folly.
Some claim that if they had been back in the garden everything would have been different. I certainly have no reason to doubt them. In all probability, they would have pushed Adam aside to reach the forbidden fruit before he did! You see, God saw the entire human race in Adam, as only He could do. So when Adam stretched forth his hand to partake of the forbidden fruit, each of us were reaching for it as well — we are his posterity, thus we share in his guilt. God could have condemned the whole human race to the Lake of Fire and have been perfectly justified in so doing. Thankfully, we did not receive what we justly deserved, for “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psa. 103:8).
HOW GOD COMFORTS US
Here, of course, the Apostle refers to believers. Our heavenly Father knows that we are frail creatures of dust, overwhelmed with sorrow, sickness and even death; not to mention the spiritual upheavals that come our way. Always sympathetic to our plight, He walks with us every step of life’s journey comforting us in all our tribulations. The tribulation cited here by the Apostle Paul is not a reference to the Tribulation Period known as The Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Paul is speaking of the personal tribulations he had encountered due to spiritual conflicts and poor health. Personal trials come in all forms: criticism, rejection, financial setbacks, sickness, bereavement, etc.
When sorrow overwhelms us like an ocean tide the Lord in His goodness is always present to comfort us in our time of need. But exactly how does God comfort us in the dispensation of Grace? We know for instance that the heavens are silent and that neither the Lord nor any of His angelic host visibly appear to minister to the saints today. During the administration of Grace the Lord, first of all, comforts us through His Word.
For example, some years ago death took my great-grandmother. She always held a very special place in my heart and even to this day I get choked up sometimes when I think of her. My sense of loss would be difficult to bear except for the consolation I have received from the Word of God. The Lord has shown me that I need not sorrow as others who have no hope. Some day soon the trump will sound and the dead in Christ will be raised. Then we will be caught up together with all those departed loved ones who were saved, and so shall we ever be with the Lord! Little wonder Paul says, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Another way the Lord comforts us is by bringing someone into our lives at just the right moment to encourage us in those times of despair. Surely we have a precedent for this in the life of Paul himself. The intensity of the spiritual warfare at Ephesus and Macedonia had taken its toll on the Apostle, both physically and spiritually. “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (II Cor. 7:5-7). The arrival of Titus was a direct result of Divine intervention to not only encourage Paul, but also that he might lend assistance in the work.
Finally, God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but rather that we might comfort others. It has been given to us to carry on a ministry of encouragement to those who are in any trouble. Think of it, having already been the recipients of God’s consolation, He uses us to put our arm around that dear Christian friend who is perhaps facing his first surgery and tell him, “we too had this same surgery a few years ago and the Lord saw us through it.” With hope we can face any thing. That’s why God has revealed to us the Blessed Hope that one day soon we shall be with Him. Truly He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. AMEN!