December 18, 2022
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For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Yesterday we saw how your suffering can benefit others. My friend, Jane, was in and out of hospitals constantly before the Lord finally took her home, releasing her from a very painful disease.
Her condition was made more bearable because she was able to witness the impact her testimony had on her nurses and doctors.
There was Charity, the transplant nurse, who was coolheaded in the operating room but coldhearted about spiritual things. Until she met Jane.
There was Marge at the nurses’ station who constantly whined about the hospital pay scale and new regulations. Her whining ceased when she became friends with Jane. Others going through menopause or midlife crisis began to see their problems fade, once they spent time with my friend.
Eventually she became completely blind and unable to physically do anything. But Jane didn’t have to worry about feeling useless or having no purpose for living. Through eyes of faith, she knew her suffering was for the comfort, encouragement, and salvation of others.
If you are distressed, it is for the comfort of others. If you are suffering, it has a bearing on the salvation of those who, even at a distance, witness your perseverance.
God invites unbelievers (and a few vacillating believers) to examine the foundations of your faith. Your witness is as bold as the claims upon which your faith rests…and this makes skeptical people think twice about God.
Father and God of all comfort, help me to live in the way of 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 today.
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