|April 15th||April 16th||April 17th||April 18th||April 19th||April 20th||April 21st|
|New Testament||1 Corinthians 16||2 Corinthians 1||2 Corinthians 2||2 Corinthians 3||2 Corinthians 4||2 Corinthians 5||2 Corinthians 6|
|Old Testament||Numbers 30-31||Numbers 32|
|Numbers 34-36||Deuteronomy 1-2||Deuteronomy 3-4||Deuteronomy 5-6|
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 1:2-3 (KJV)
I love that, “…the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation.” The VOICE Bible renders tribulation as “the pain and hardship of life…” Paul knew great victory in his life, received amazing revelation, and was mightily used by God. Paul also knew, ‘the pain and hardship of life.’ Paul even made a list for the Corinthian church of his hardships:
- taken more beatings
- dragged in and out of prisons
- been eye-to-eye with death
- five times withstood thirty-nine lashes from Jewish authorities
- three times I was battered with rods
- once I was almost stoned to death
- three times I was shipwrecked
- spent one day and night adrift on the sea
- many journeys and faced the most extreme circumstances: perilous rivers, violent thieves, and threats
- faced dangers in the city, in the wilderness, and at sea
- survived toil and hardships, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst without a crumb in sight, bare to the cold.
- daily stress and anxiety for all the churches under my care
That is quite a list! The Apostle Paul experienced great hardship in his life but notice what he said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (VOICE). “We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” Notice: not crushed, didn’t give in to despair, not abandoned, and not destroyed.
I like that – that is positive. Paul experienced problems, but he didn’t let those experiences define him or limit him. Instead, he believed that God was able to take him THROUGH any trouble. In Acts 27:25 at sea, in the middle of a typhoon that had lasted for two weeks, Paul said, “…listen, men: you must not give up hope! Keep up your courage! I have faith in God that things will turn out exactly as [God said].”
In the midst of that great storm, Paul took comfort from what the Lord had told him and shared it with others. Look back at 2 Corinthians 1:4, “[God] consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life SO THAT we may draw from His comfort AND SHARE IT with others in their own struggles.” (emphasis added) 2 Timothy 1:17 says, “…Many times did [Onesiphorus] put fresh heart into me, and he was not in the least ashamed of my being a prisoner in chains. Indeed, when he was in Rome, he went to a great deal of trouble to find me…” (Phillips) This man, Onesiphorus didn’t let the fear of imprisonment stop him from finding Paul and encouraging him.
Don’t let struggles and problems define or limit you or those around you. God wants to comfort us and use us to comfort others. We can receive comfort from God and share it with those around us. Romans 15:4 says, “…the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Look into God’s Word and find hope and encouragement for yourself and those around you.