The God Of All Comfort
In 2 Corinthians 1:3–4, we read, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
What a ministry of comfort we find in God’s Word! Here we have God our Father spoken of as the “God of all comfort.” In John chapters 14, 15, and 16, we read of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, and in 1 John 2:1, our Lord Jesus is called our “advocate with the Father.” This is the same word in the Greek that is translated “Comforter” in John’s Gospel. So we have the entire Trinity engaged in this gracious ministry. And, oh, how much it is needed! There are broken hearts everywhere, and God is the One who bindeth up the broken in heart.
The believer is not immune from suffering. He knows, with the worldling, what sorrow and bereavement are. But he has a solace the man of the world has never known. He can go through all these experiences knowing that there is One in heaven of whom it is written, “In all their affliction, He was afflicted.” Our Lord was, on Earth, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. “We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” He passed through all kinds of human experiences and He knows all we have to endure and is able to succor all who are tested.
When we speak of comfort, we naturally think first of all of the comfort of forgiveness. Of old He said, “Be of good comfort. Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” And this comfort He gives to all who trust Him today.
Then there is comfort in trial. In Isaiah 66:13 we read “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” The Hebrew word rendered “comfort” here really means “to sigh.” So we might read, “As one whom his mother sighs with, so I, the Lord, will sigh with you.” You remember how in your childish troubles, Mother took you into her arms and said, “Oh, yes dear; Mother understands. I feel so sorry for you.” And you were comforted as she entered into your griefs.
I heard a minister tell how his little girl hurt her finger in a door-jamb and made a great outcry; so her mother came running and took her away. He heard the mother ask, “Does it hurt so badly, dear?” And the little girl answered, “Oh, Mother, it isn’t that it hurts so bad, but Daddy never even said ‘Oh!’” Ah, dear believers, you have a Father who says “Oh!” when you are in distress. He feels for you in all your pain and suffering. He sighs with you in it and He comforts as only One so tenderly sympathetic can.
Sometimes we ask “Why?” when suffering comes our way. Why did God take a dear one? Why did great financial loss have to come to us? Why were we laid aside on a bed of sickness? Well, one reason is that we may learn what a God we have—the God of all comfort—and that we might comfort others with the comfort wherewith He comforts us.
Let me illustrate: For years I disliked going to see the sick. It was not that I did not feel for them and desire to help them, but I had seldom been sick, and I always felt as though the dear suffering ones whom I tried to console were looking at me and thinking, “Yes, but what do you know about it? You are well and strong—two hundred pounds of health—you know nothing of what I am going through!” So I shrank from trying to help them.
Then one day I came down with typhoid fever. For six weeks I lay on my back looking up to heaven. For a time, death seemed very near. But at last I was well again. The Lord revealed His consoling grace to me as never before in that illness. And sometime afterwards a call came—“Could you go and see a man who is suffering with typhoid fever?” Indeed I could! I felt I was a typhoid specialist. I went to his bedside. I said, “I know what you are going through. But God can sustain. I went through it all. He undertook for me.” So I could comfort them with the comfort wherewith I had been comforted.
It is a blessed thing to go through trouble in fellowship with the God of all comfort and thus we are better fitted to help and bless those who are in any tribulation and need a word of cheer and encouragement.