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For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. —2 Corinthians 1:5-6 (NIV)
This passage almost strikes me as if the Apostle Paul was complaining about how he and his fellow-workers in the faith were sharing “abundantly” in the sufferings of Christ.
But the moment I start to think Paul was looking at this like a glass half-empty, I see him turning this paradigm upside down so that you and I can see the blessing of adversity.
What’s the blessing of adversity?
Maybe you’re in so much pain right now that considering your suffering as a blessing might seem like foolish talk, if not cruel.
Obviously, if Christ-followers truly are expected to carry the weight of their pain on their own, I would agree that this idea is indeed a cruel one.
But that would be viewing things only from the glass-half-empty side. Instead, I think Paul was saying that the more troubles and suffering we face in life, the more we get to experience Christ’s comfort!
After all, it is in our suffering that Christ’s comfort “abounds.” Right?
It’s like Jesus takes our half-empty or completely empty glass and fills it to an abounding and overflowing level with His comfort and love whenever we suffer!
Then something even more exciting happens … Christ’s abounding comfort is able to spill from our hearts all over those in our lives who suffer as well.
Amazingly, that’s not where Christ stops. When we spread and share the abounding comfort of Christ with others, it produces patient endurance in them and us.
This reality far-surpasses the times that Jesus miraculously fed crowds of four and five thousand with two small lunches of fish and loaves. I mean, how long does it take for a person to get hungry again? Not long at all!
But this patience produced through our received and extended comfort endures even in the face of more suffering. Talk about multiplying miracles!
I’ve been going through quite a season of difficulty lately. But there’s one thing that has encouraged me and kept me persevering—Christ’s comfort. I’ve cried out to Him in my pain and He has drawn near to comfort me like only my sweet Savior can.
He can do the same for you. He wants to do the same for you. Will you let Him?
And will you let the comfort you receive from Him abound and overflow onto other people’s lives as well?
Neglecting to do so means we all miss out on this blessing of adversity found only in Christ.
Father, what a joy it is to experience Your comfort in my suffering and adversity. I simply need to run to Your loving embrace and You eagerly shower me with more than enough comfort to fill my cup and then some! I also see how You want me to share the same comfort I’ve received from You with those who are suffering all around me. Multiply my opportunities to extend Your comfort to every aching and broken heart who crosses my path this day. I rejoice that You allow me to participate in Your ministry of encouragement. Use Your comfort to develop patience in each soul involved, so that we can endure the harshest of trials and suffering in this life, while bringing You the greatest glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.