As the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ … This comfort, extended to you by us, is effective for the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer. 2 Corinthians 1:4–6
Paul warned all his converts in advance that they would suffer rejection as Christ did. For he knew that God works out his promise to put enmity between the “woman’s seed” and the “serpent’s seed” by causing some people to reject the Serpent’s rebellion and commit their lives to the care of God. When we begin to reflect the light of the glory of God’s grace onto the lives of people who prefer to live in the darkness of their own disgraceful incompetence, they hate us. For our goodness illuminates their frail foolishness. So, they assault us socially, intellectually, emotionally, and physically. The suffering we experience because we’re following Jesus has been granted to us as a sign of our salvation and as a means of our maturity. It is our opportunity to remember that our hope for a joyous future is in a resurrected Christ and in the God who raised him from the dead. Our comfort is abundant because our union with him in his death produces the certainty of our fellowship with God for eternity. So, we would be wise not to “consider that the sufferings of this present time worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Lord, as you comfort me in my suffering as your subject, grant me the grace to extend this comfort to my brothers and sisters as well. Amen.