About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact
About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact

The Blessing of Affliction


2 Cor. 1:3-11

Of all the dilemmas we face as Christians, the one Paul speaks of here in this passage…the problem of affliction…is perhaps the most difficult for us to deal with.

And when it does happen we often criticize God and blame Him.

Sometimes we handle suffering and affliction in a different way.

True, our wrong doings can cause us to suffer.

This kind of thinking only brings about confusion…and frustration….and accusations and guilt on the sufferer that they may never recover from.

Well, here in this passage Paul has some things to say on this subject and hopefully what he has to say will help us as we deal with affliction and suffering in our lives.

First thing I want you to notice is “no one is exempt.”

And the truth of the matter is, the fact that you are a faithful servant of God may mean that your afflictions will be more than those who are not faithful to God.

Look at Paul.

In verse 5 Paul says that what they were suffering were “sufferings of Christ.”

So much of what Paul and Timothy suffered was due to their commitment and devotion to Christ.

So, no one is exempt from afflictions and suffering.

But now look at vs. 3. Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all afflictions…”

Some people seek to find comfort by complaining…or by entering into depression and hopelessness.

Some simply try to ignore the affliction…or deny it….or pretend to forget it.

We look in all of these different places to try to find comfort during our times of affliction.

But the one place we should look…we must look…in order to find true…real comfort in affliction is to God.

The verse says that He is the “God of ALL comfort.”

And verse 4 says “He comforts us in “ALL our afflictions

And when it says that “He comforts us“, that is present tense which means that He continually….and constantly comforts us.

Far too often we look in the wrong places for our comfort.

Well, that isn’t the place to look!

No wonder He said,   “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of rigteousness For His names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for Thou are with me, They rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

In times of affliction…of suffering…of stress and pressure…turn to God for only God can make sense of it all.

And in the end, it is only God who can and will deliver us from all afflictions. He alone can and will wipe away all of our tears.

Look again at verse 3. At the time that we are suffering some affliction, it is hard to see any good in it.

Now watch this…“who comforts us in all our afflictions 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.”

When our daughter was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome….and we were told that she would have to deal with it for the rest of her life…it was really hard to accept that.

She was afflicted….and comforted by God….and as a result she has been able to comfort others….and do so in an effective way because of her own experiences.

God is an evangelistic God.

Some times our afflictions….and the comfort we receive from God…qualifies us….and equips us to be powerful tools for God to use to bring others to Him.

Look at verses 8-9.

But look at what he says next about this affliction.  In vs. 9 Paul says,

“We had the sentence of death within ourselves IN ORDER THAT WE SHOULD NOT TRUST IN OURSELVES, BUT IN GOD WHO RAISES THE DEAD.”

We tend to rely on ourselves.

If you go back to the Old Testament you find a guy named Nebuchadnezzar that was that way.

But the best thing that ever happened to Nebuchadnezzar was for him to suffer affliction and eat grass like a beast…because that experience brought him to a better understanding and knowledge of God.

Some times, our afflictions are the only thing that will cause us to slow down long enough to make us realize that we need God.

And sometimes our afflictions are the only thing that will make others realize their need for God as well.

God preaches some of His most powerful sermons…and He extends some of His most appealing invitations to others…through our afflictions.

In this passage Paul speaks of afflictions. Something that none of us want to experience.

Vs. 11: “You also joining in helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed upon us through the prayers of many.”

Afflictions will come. Turn to God for your comfort.