- Verse 3-4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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.
Are you suffering? God is the God of all comfort. Isn't that reassuring? The text not only says the God of all comfort, but also the Father of mercies. Who doesn't need mercy? God is the God of all comfort, and comforts us in all our afflictions- not some of them. When we are comforted by Him in our afflictions, we are able to comfort others who are being afflicted with the same comfort shown to us from God.
- Verse 8b-9: For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
There are people who think that God only gives us what we can handle. This is no where in the Bible. I think it gets confused with 1 Corinthians 10:13~ No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Or with: Lamentations 3:22-23~ The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. But Pauls writing here in verse 8 and 9 show us that their suffering was so great that they felt burdened by a judgment of death. That must have been some suffering! It was obviously beyond what they could bear themselves, which is why Paul says, "But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God..."If we were given only suffering that which we could bear ourselves, where would the need for God be? We wouldn't need Him.
In the book, Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working, by Craig Groeschel he says, "Most normal people believe that God will never give us more than we can handle. The problem is, God never said that. He said he would not let you be tempted without a way out (see 1 Cor. 10:13), but he never said he wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. Ready for a weird take on this? God will often give you more than you can handle so you can learn to depend on him rather than on yourself. If you could handle everything yourself, you wouldn’t need God. If you have more than you can handle, God wants you to lean on him to lighten your load. You don’t have to do it all, and God doesn’t expect you to do it all alone." (Groeschel, Craig (2011). WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working (pp. 32-33). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)
Father God, thank you that you are the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Thank you that You want us to come to You for comfort and to carry the load of our burdens. I pray that we would do just that. I ask that if any of us are being afflicted right now, that we would stop and surrender it to you today so that we can receive your mercy and your comfort. Amen.