1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God of All Comfort
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (2 Co 1:1–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Bonds
Suffering and Affliction draw out the extremes in us. Some people may be quiet and unseen on a day to day basis but will truly step up and shine in times of suffering. Other people have the worst brought out in them by the afflictions in their life. If you don't know which type you are, ask your family and they can tell you. Some of that personality we cannot change, we can only grow and try to improve with prayer and experience.
We cannot do it alone though. There is a tendency within us to want to pull away from others when we suffer, and while appropriate boundaries are important, isolation is deadly to those in affliction. That is why Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them that we share our suffering. Not only do we share our suffering with one another, but we share them with God as well. God does not hold himself up above the everyday trials we face, but we find comfort in the fact that He became fully human in order to share in our sufferings and thus to bring us true comfort.
Likewise, if we willingly share in God's sufferings than we will also share in His comfort. I don't think this means that we need to get ourselves crucified. I think this relates more to recognizing what breaks God's heart and allowing it to break yours as well. In your church, in your family, do you share in the suffering of Christ? Does your heart ache for those who estranged from the family of God? Do you share in the suffering of one another?
Reflection: What suffering, what sacrifice is God calling you and your family to embrace? How do you respond to that call of Christ to come and die with Him that you might then be raised up with Him in new life?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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