A Brief Meditation for the Month

November 2022

In the introduction to his second epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul blesses God, or eulogises God, as “the God of all comfort,” 2Corinthians 1:3. Since we know so much about some of the experiences of the apostle, we can appreciate how essential and sustaining God’s comfort was for himself on many occasions. Like Paul, all those who are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ share in the relationship of a father to his children. All those who, by the “Spirit of adoption,” can address God as their “Father in heaven,” Romans 8:15; Matthew 6:9, learn in their experience that, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him,” Psalm 103:13. God has a real paternal heart for his children. He cares about them, and their concerns are His concerns. God directed the prophet in Isaiah 40:1 to speak comforting words to his afflicted people. He gave the instruction, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” The same God who chastises his children when it is required comforts them when they need it. Paul tells the Corinthians the God of all comfort comforts us “in all our tribulation,” 2Corinthians 1:4. God knows exactly when and how to apply comfort and the quantity needed. In this same address to the Corinthians, Paul reminds us, with them, that divine comfort has a purpose. It is not for the selfish, but rather that those who have experienced it might be useful in the service of others. Paul wrote in verse 4: “that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God’s comforts are for sharing.

Paul learned that God uses means to bring comfort to his children. On one occasion, the apostle was comforted through a visit by Titus. Although he was severely troubled and tried at the time, he testified, “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus,” 2Corinthians 7:6. In his epistle to the Colossians, he names those “which have been a comfort unto me,” Colossians 4:9–11. When God comforts his children, he uses suitable means to that end. Sometimes comfort is drawn directly out of God’s word itself. The Psalmist could address God, “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me,” Psalm 119:49–50. On the other hand, God may use the presence, the words, or the prayers of one child of God to bring spiritual comfort to another of his or her afflicted brothers or sisters. To be useful in this ministry of comfort, we need to have personal experience of being downcast or discouraged, or of being weary through the attacks of Satan, or physical weakness, or material loss like Job. Through such experiences, we develop a tender, compassionate, sympathetic, and caring attitude towards those with whom we are able to empathise. Throughout the whole of the Christian life in this world, God’s dear children need divine comfort from time to time, and they appreciate it when they receive it. Sadly, many of us are not good at ministering comfort to others. Yet this is a duty if we have been the recipients of God’s comfort. We have been comforted to fit us to be a blessing to others. Perhaps there is a blessing waiting for you, dear reader, when you go with comfort to one of God’s dear afflicted ones. Do you know of some poor soul right now needing the very comfort you can supply because when you yourself needed it, God put his tender arms around you and poured his comfort into your soul? God has prepared you for this little bit of service for him. “Wherefore comfort one another,” 1Thessalonians 4:18.

G. G. Hutton.