[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
Sometimes this journey through life can be so difficult that we’re simply overwhelmed, and it seems there’s no end to the darkness. During such a time in our own family’s life, my wife emerged one morning from her quiet time with a new lesson learned. “I think God wants us not to forget in the light what we’re learning in this darkness.”
Paul writes this same thought to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1), after describing the terrible difficulties he and his team endured in Asia. Paul wants the Corinthians to understand how God can redeem even our darkest moments. We’re comforted, he says, so we may learn how to comfort others (v. 4). Paul and his team were learning things from God during their trials that they could use to comfort and advise the Corinthians when they faced similar difficulties. And God does that for us as well, if we’re willing to listen. He will redeem our trials by teaching us how to use what we’ve learned in them to minister to others.
Are you in the darkness now? Be encouraged by Paul’s words and experience. Trust that God is right now directing your steps and that He’s also stamping His truths on your heart so you can share them with others who are in similar circumstances. You’ve been there before, and you know the way home.
Father, help those who are hurting today so they may see and know Your loving presence in their darkest hours.
Never forget in the light what you learn in the darkness.
The Greek word for comfort (paraklesis) means “to come alongside and help.” Jesus is called our parakletos (advocate) in 1 John 2:1. The Holy Spirit is another advocate or comforter (John 14:16–17). Paul asserts that God is “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). The triune Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is there with us in our pain. By saying God is the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 2–3), Paul reminds us that coming alongside to help each other is a family duty and privilege (v. 4).
To whom can you be a parakletos—a comforter—this coming week?