COMFORT IN TOUGH TIMES
2 CORINTHIANS 7:4-6 NKJ
4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
5 For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
Paul did not live a life of leisure. He encountered many difficult times in his quest to fulfill God's plan for his life.
Paul also had a spiritual depth and strength not common during that day or present day. To be able to endure persecutions, prisons, hardships, shipwrecks, stoning, and beatings, you have to be a special kind of guy. But Paul was no ancient Rambo or superhero. He had learned some things about God, and Paul's faith and confidence in God and the power of God kept him going.
In the verse for today, Paul stated that he was exceedingly joyful in all the tribulation. He had joy in the middle of very difficult times. He was tired; his body "had no rest." There were conflicts and concerns, and yet Paul did not despair or quit.
One of the attributes he assigns to God is that God comforts the downcast. He knew that even when facing difficult times, he could count on God providing comfort. We looked at comfort earlier and determined it was more than a pat on the back or a feel-good moment. God's comfort involves help and strengthening. In this particular case, Titus came with good news about the Corinthian church. That, plus encouragement from Titus, brought Paul comfort.
So, we have tough times but. But God is able to deliver us, comfort us, give His peace to us, enlighten us. We, like Paul, have a powerful Heavenly Father, Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, who is praying for us, our Lord and Savior. When we look at things from that perspective, it changes things. We stop waiting for everything to get perfect on the outside and start looking for God on the inside.
One of my goals in life is to be more aware of God and His power and resources than I am of my temporary troubles in life. I want to become joyful IN my tribulations, not simply joyful when things are perfect. I'm not looking for more trouble. I am looking for God and His comfort, and that takes me beyond the trouble.
Help me, Father, become more aware of You and Your comfort than I am of my trials and troubles. I desire to be joyful in You.