Affliction and consolation…

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2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.

You probably know that Paul and the other leaders of the early church often suffered persecution for their faith. Paul himself was beaten and left for dead at least once, maybe more. We also know that the church itself was persecuted from time to time, as Paul made reference in this passage. Paul made no promises that Jesus would spare Christians from suffering – quite the opposite. That said, he mentioned repeatedly that “affliction” (suffering/persecution) would be accompanied by “consolation” (relief and/or comfort) in equal measure.

Lately I’ve encountered a large number of people who are in very difficult circumstances. They’re struggling financially, relationally, in their health, and more. Like a typical “guy” my mind often goes to “How do we fix this?” While I’m listening I’m thinking of solutions to the problems I’m hearing. But then I remember that often times people aren’t expecting me to be the source of a solution, but as a source of comfort, encouragement, hope in the Lord. I’ll bet that’s true for you too. And because the Lord has sustained me through some very difficult times, I have support to share with others – just like the passage says.

Lord thank you for the grace you pour out to sustain us through the worst of times. Amen.

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