Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, CSB)
In this passage, the phrase “the Father of” occurs twice and is implied a third time. God is the Father of Jesus; he is the Father of mercies and the Father of all comfort. Think about it: Jesus . . . mercies . . . comfort. God is the Father of Jesus, the Father of mercies, the Father of all comfort.
It’s easy for me to understand that God is the Father of Jesus. And I can see how he is the Father of mercies, because he is the judge—and only a judge has the right to be merciful. But the Father of all comfort? Wow! That is good news! The God of all comfort.
What does all look like in this case? When does the Lord comfort us?
Well, God comfort us when we are experiencing a little affliction. Small troubles are part of this “all.” And when we experience great mountains of affliction, God also comforts us. Is this a newly revealed characteristic of God in the New Testament? Not really; look at these psalms, written long before Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, ESV)
Show me a sign of your favor that those who hate me
may see and be put to shame
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. (Psalm 86:17, ESV)
This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. (Psalm 119:50, ESV)
God has a reason for comforting us in all our afflictions: “So that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” In other words, so we can pass it on.
You are comforted by God in order to comfort others. Maybe this is the first time you have understood this. How are you comforting others in your relationships today? Are you comforting them with kindness and patience? Are you relating to people, or showing sympathy and/or empathy for their pain? You will grow in your ability to comfort as you give comfort to others.
Lord, thank you for comforting me in all my affliction—no matter how big or small. And please help me to comfort others with the comfort you have shown me. . . . Continue praying.