‘Comfort’ Meditations No.20: The Resource
2 Cor 1:6 “if we are comforted, it is for your comfort,”
Yesterday we noted from the first half of the above verse, the apostle Paul saying they were not put out by the stresses and strains of the travelling apostolic life if it meant blessing – comfort and salvation – for those in Corinth. In other words, he was willing to pay the price of discomfort if it brought comfort to them. I couldn’t help implying that talk of sacrifice is rarely heard in Christian circles today.
But now we move to the following part of the verse. This is fascinating. This is Paul following on his previous comment as if to say, “Don’t hear this as me doing a ‘poor old us’, because of what we go through for you. No, we’re not left by God in a state of misery in order to bless you. No, it may be tough from time to time, but we have God comforting us all the way down the line.”
Do you see the principle emerging from this: however much we get put out to do the will of God, we never have grounds to boast or groan: if we’re called to it, the grace of God will always be there, and we will be comforted, resourced and provided for along the way in whatever we do. No room for miseries in the kingdom! Now that’s not a “Keep a stiff upper lip, straighten your back and don’t be a wimp” type of comment, it simply says that the grace of God is there for every single one of us to draw on, so that none of us may be left regretting we’ve been serving the Lord.
This is just one of the realities that arises in this area of consideration – God is never a debtor, we can never say, “He owes me,” or “He never turned up for me.” The reality is that He’s always there with us and, by implication, for us. See the number of times He said to various of His servants, “I will be with you.” e.g. Moses Ex 3:12, Isaac Gen 26:3,24, Jacob Gen 31:3, Joshua Josh 1:5, Gideon Jud 6:16, Jeroboam 1 Kings 11:38, Israel Isa 4:10 etc. Again and again and again we find the Lord saying this. The knowledge of His presence with us is crucial. HE is our resource, His very presence.
The more I talk with other believers the more important I feel that we need to have a ‘God-awareness’ sense. Not long ago I asked our house-group, “Really, why do we read the Bible?” They responded with the usual, because it feeds us, teaches us about God, teaches us how to live etc., but as they responded I suddenly saw something I had never seen before: we read it to build within us a constant ‘God-consciousness’ or ‘God-awareness’ for every day. Paul knew the comfort of God that comes from a constant God-consciousness or God awareness that comes with the truth of those verse references I gave just now – “I am with you.” He Himself is the resource that brings us comfort. Never forget it.