The Comfort Chain
May 12 2023 - Eric Buresh
Several of us Gracers recently finished up a Tuesday evening Bible study on Suffering and Comfort. One week out, and I miss the fellowship of that group of brothers and sisters, my friends. It is such a blessing to enjoy a group of fellow believers that prays together, listens, receives comfort from and comforts each other as we all spend time in the furnace of various afflictions as God molds us into the glorious image of His Son and draws us near in His comfort. None of that time in the furnace is meaningless. As I looked back over my study notes, one of the texts jumped out at me:
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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV).
God provides all comfort in all our affliction. It cannot get much more inclusive than the double “all”! God wraps His powerful arms around us, or, as we recently noted, He shelters us under His majestic wings. He gives us unshakeable Truths to which we anchor in the storm. And the Father tenderly comforts and binds us up through Christ. His comfort is so beautiful; so breathtaking! I think that is why Paul begins this text with worship: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Blessed in this context carries many connotations such as praised, hallowed, adored, or lifted high to name a few. God’s comfort does lead us to worship. We are so fortunate to be His children. So blessed. It seems like so little to offer Him a blessing back -- a sacrifice of praise, but He is blessed by our thanks!
But like His love, God’s comfort is not only for us individually. In the context of love, we talk a lot about how God’s abundant love toward us is not only returned, but it overflows in our love to other people (love God, love others). The same is true with His comfort. He comforts us so that we can comfort others with the same comfort we received from God! God’s purposes are infinite. The chain of comfort never stops. He’s doing 10 million things in every single event, and we might see two or three of those purposes. For instance, when we have a conversation with a brother or sister who is going through some suffering like what we have experienced, we see clearly that God has prepared us through suffering and comfort to comfort another in suffering. But then that believer comforts another and that believer comforts another and so on. One comforted affliction can turn into millions of instances of comfort through Christ! It’s exponential!
When you endure an affliction and receive God’s comfort, you can now begin a new chain of comfort and you will not see how long that chain is until we get to heaven. Our short time on earth is our only opportunity to experience God’s comfort and draw nearer to Him through it. Once we reach Glory, there will be no more suffering and thus no more comfort. So, lean into your furnace of affliction, knowing you will both receive comfort through Christ and the ability to give comfort in turn -- to start a chain of comfort for the glory of God and the good of His Kingdom.