3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings,so also you share in our comfort.
(2 Corinthians 2:3-7 NIV)
The Apostle Paul reminds us that our tears and heartaches are not wasted with the Lord. We live in a fallen world, where sin and sadness are all around us. Any emotion we experience, God has felt it first-hand through Jesus while He was here on this earth.
Paul reminds us that because Jesus experienced all these feelings, He can relate to how we’re feeling, and can offer us comfort and compassion like no one else.
In turn, then, Paul tells us that we can go serve others experiencing trouble in this life, offering the same compassion and comfort that Jesus has given us. We don’t have to pretend or invent this comfort and compassion; Jesus gives us what we need so that we can pass it along to others.
Paul reminds us in verse 6 that these sufferings produce patient endurance in us. Not everything in this life is instant and gratifying, but in Christ, God uses them to build our character and make us more like Him.
Sometimes, after we have experienced a particularly hard trial or trouble, it’s hard to get back to normal life again (or understand and accept the “new normal” that the circumstances may have created). One of the ways to get started again is to find a way to serve the Lord and care for others, even in the smallest ways.
The psalmist understood this principle when he wrote:
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
(Psalm 126:5 NIV)
We may still have tears and sadness when we start back toward our “new normal”, but the joy will return, multiplied many times over our tears and sadness. Our circumstances may not change, or may even get worse, but joy is God’s gift to us despite our circumstances, and is focused on our relationship to Him.
May whatever sadness and discomfort you’re experiencing today be enveloped in God’s compassion and comfort. And when the time is right, as God heals your heart, may you pass along that same comfort and compassion to others and experience God’s joy in your journey.