Prayer for Comfort
“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, 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.” 2 Corinthians 2:3-7
In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul starts out by praising God for the comfort that comes from Him in our afflictions. One thing I learned from commentary that I never really knew before is that the idea behind the word used for comfort here means strengthening or making strong. Many times we think of receiving comfort for troubles and afflictions just as soothing or sympathy. But the words used here actually mean to make stronger. The comfort that we receive from God during times of trouble and affliction are not just for sympathy sake, but it is comfort meant to strengthen us. Which is why this comfort is better than mere sympathy, this comfort is what holds us up in the tough times! Which is also why we will be able to comfort others with the same comfort in the future.
Now sometimes that is hard to hear when you are in the middle of the season of needing the comfort. I personally remember a particularly hard season that I was in and someone told me this verse. I have to admit to you that at the time, I didn’t want to be used of God in that way. I had just miscarried a baby and when a friend told me that God was going to comfort me so that I would be able to comfort others down the road, my selfish human nature was not very happy about that. At the moment, I just wanted to be pregnant again and for this not to have happened to me. But I can tell you that the day did come when I had another friend who miscarried and God did actually use the very thing that had happened in my life to bring her comfort.
Sufferings come to us in many ways. We live in a fallen, broken world and the truth of the matter is sometimes life is just plain hard. I have two friends who in the past month have buried husbands unexpectedly. I know a young man who is fighting for his life as the result of an accident and his parents and siblings are praying hard for his recovery. I have friends who have buried children. I have been through grief and sufferings of different kinds and I pray that as God has comforted me in those griefs and sufferings that I too can be there for my friends who are going through so much. My sufferings and griefs may have been different but just as I was comforted by God through others, I pray that I can be used by God to comfort others. Suffering is a part of life, but when we allow the sufferings that we have to be comforted, strengthened by God is when we will be able to, one day, be there for someone else. It’s what gives us that hope that is unshaken in Him. If life is going to be hard, I want it to also be rich by sharing in comfort for others.
And I praise Him for being there for me when I needed Him, for bringing others who have walked the same path or similar paths to strengthen me. I praise Him and I thank Him for the comfort that I have received and I pray to be a comfort to others.