Monday, March 03, 2008

Helping Those Who Hurt

We all have something in common. We all have experienced hurt. For some it is physical trials. For others it’s relational. It could also have been financial or occupational, but all of us know in some sort or fashion what it means to experience suffering. But as children of God, why would our Heavenly Father allow us to suffer? Second Corinthians chapter one gives us a twofold answer to that question. The first purpose is one of ministry. God allows us to experience trials and suffering so that we can go then in turn help those who go through similar adversities.

Ten times in the course of just a few verses, Paul speaks of comfort. He begins by describing the author of true comfort which is God Himself. Paul describes Him in three ways. First he calls Him the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament God is referred to as “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” But in the New Testament He is referred to as “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:31; Romans 15:6; Ephesians 1:3, 17; 1 Peter 1:3). In deity, Jesus is fully equal with God. Hebrews 1:3 says, “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.” In John 10:30, Jesus said that “I and the Father are one.” In John 14:9 Jesus said that if anyone has seen him they have seen the Father. Philippians 2:6 teaches that Jesus existed in the form of God and Colossians 1:15 says that He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). According to Colossians 2:9, In Jesus all the fullness of the deity dwells in bodily form. In His deity, Jesus was fully God but in His humanity he fully submitted to God.

Paul then calls God the Father of mercies. But it is the third title that is the main idea of the book. Paul calls Him the God of all comfort. This word comes from the Greek word “parakletos” which is a compound word made up of the word “along side” combined with the word “to call.” Comfort is given by someone called alongside to help. The word is used as another name for the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. According to Paul, God comes along side of us to help us in times of affliction (v4). The word “affliction” literally means “pressure” and speaks of all stress, persecution and trials. God “comes alongside” of us during our affliction so that we will be able to “come alongside” of others going through similar afflictions. Those who experience the most suffering will receive the most comfort; and those who receive the most comfort are most able to comfort others (v6-7). The person who has suffered the shattering effects of divorce can best comfort a divorcee. The person who has lost a child can best comfort another parent who has lost a child. The business man who once was bankrupt can best comfort another person in the throes of financial disaster. There is no question that this world offers an abundance of suffering but the comfort of God is just as abundant.

So what trials have you gone through in which you have found God to be faithful and which has caused spiritual growth in your life? We want you to share your story so that others who are going through similar trials can be encouraged. Share your story by going to a special blog site that we have set up on the internet at (

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