Daily Dose of Courage – 16 May 2020

Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.

I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.

Saturday, May 16th

Reading: 2 Corinthians 1-2

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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.

— 2 Co 1:3–4 (ESV)

Two things strike me about Paul’s introductory remarks in his second letter to the church in Corinth.

The first is how he refers to God, and the second is how he views the purposes of the circumstances of his life.

He called God, “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” which is an incredible title and one that Paul has grown to know to be true of God because he has experienced intense need for both mercy and comfort. Paul knew the mercies of God better than anyone, having been saved from a life of self-righteous persecution of God’s church. I doubt a day went by when Paul didn’t think of the execution of Stephen, and the numerous other acts of violence and persecution that he authorized and oversaw over God’s people. He was totally dependent on God’s mercy. So are we.

But Paul also called God the “God of all comfort” and again, this was something that he had experienced first hand. The only way you get to know someone as comforting is if you find yourself needing comfort. In other words, it was through immense suffering and discomfort that Paul came to know God especially well. It is most often, in the same spaces, that we too get to know who God is.

This is where it is fascinating to see how Paul views the purpose of the various trials he had, had to endure. Paul doesn’t view the circumstances of his life as about him at all. They exist for others.

God comforts him in affliction so that he can comfort others. (v4)

If things go badly, is is for the shared benefit of others. (v6a)

If God moves powerfully, again, it is for the shared benefit of others. (v6b)

What if, the things that happen in our lives aren’t actually just for or even about us? What if they exist so that we would know God more, and share the blessing of that knowledge of God with others? This removes the temptation for both pride and bitterness. It lifts our gaze above the dictatorial edicts of a life that is turned in on itself, a life of “why me?” and “why not me?” It creates a life of magnificent self-forgetfulness where every thing that befalls or blesses us serves as an opportunity to both know and to share God.

Oh dear friends…

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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.

Courage.
Ross

 

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