Tribulation, suffering and the glory which is to come

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

4Who 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.

5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

6And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

7And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

The word for comfort (parakaleo) is used 16 times in 2 Corinthians (three times alone in verse four). Verse three states that God is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Verse four tells us that God comforts us in all of tribulation (pressure, crushing, pressing squeezing caused by the sacrifices we make and perils we face due to our faith in Christ). God comforts us so that we may in turn comfort those who are in any trouble (same word as tribulation), with the same comfort we are comforted by God.

This word parakaleo comes from para,which means “the side of” and kaleo which means “to call” . This word means to call and exhort by way consolation, encouragement and comfort with tenderness and genuine care and concern. God calls us to His side by means of tender comfort and encouragement when we are being crushed by the pressures associated with standing for Christ in this dark world. He does this so that we in turn will do the same for others (especially new Christians) who are facing pressure from family, friends etc.

Verses five and seven speak of the sufferings of Christ that abound in us. The word sufferings is the Greek word pathematos which simply means to suffer affliction. Let's look at some of the other places this word is used in the New Testament:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. 1 Peter 5:1

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 1 Peter 5:9

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:13

Verse seven of 2 Corinthians 1 says that as we partake (share fully) of the sufferings of Christ, so shall we partake of the consolation, which is the Greek word paraklesis, which stresses encouragement and exhortation. Interestingly, this word is the opposite of tribulation and suffering. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that this is speaking of the glory that awaits us, as we saw in Romans 8 and I Peter 5.

I will close with some of my personal favorite verses in the New Testament which we will explore in detail soon found in Philippians 3:7-11:

7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

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K Reynolds

We often think of "suffering" as simply persecution but like yourself, I believe it to be more than that. Also, what one person may think is "nothing", maybe a huge challenge to someone else. I have to say that God has used the suffering of others, whether I am watching them go through it, hearing about it or reading about it, to encourage me when I am facing problems of my own. As someone who tries to minister to people dealing with chronic illness, I have to say that one of the things that has blown me away is how quickly those very same people will rush to the side of those who are suffering. Why? Because they themselves have experienced it. They know first hand the help and comfort they have received from God and they are eager to bring both aid and hope to those who are afflicted.


K :princess: