Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2 Corinthians, Chapter 1

I still have plans to complete a study of the gospels by writing on the book of John, but I will wait until I get back from a vacation I have planned for April 1st. Until then, the book of 2 Corinthians should fill the gap until I leave quite nicely. I also want to thank the anonymous commenter that suggested the black cherry juice for use with arthritis. I will have to give that a try in conjunction with a cream that my dad has given me. The Ketoprophin he makes in his pharmacy also does wonders.

2 Corinthians is exactly what it sounds like. It is a second letter to the church in Corinth by the apostle Paul. Like the previous letter, he addresses a variety of topics that the church needed to hear. The first one he touches on is the topic of God being a God of comfort.

When I think of God comfort is one of the first capacities I see him serving in. it is only natural because we often turn to god, even if we don't truly know Him in our hearts, when we are in need of comfort. It is a natural human reaction to reach out to God when we need that comfort. We are also promised that He will be there when we need that comfort.

5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If 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. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. – 1 Cortinthians 1:5-7

Putting comfort and suffering together may seem like an odd idea, but it makes sense. Why would others take comfort in our distress? As Christians, we are expected to be leaders and examples for non-Christians. We have already signed up to be soldiers for Christ, while others have not. This is why they find comfort in our suffering. We must put for an example, just as Christ did, of serving a greater purpose in our suffering. If we show that we still find comfort in Christ while we suffer, then we are living a lesson that Christ wants others to see.

That is where patient endurance comes in. Patience is not one of my God-given virtues, but I have learned some patience as I age. To me, a lack of patience is short-sightedness. It is an inability to see a larger picture. When we are impatient it is because we want a result now. We don't see the greater picture and instead we focus on an infant-like desire to placate ourselves in a situation where we don't know an immediate answer. I often fall prey to this, and the result is often burning frustration.

If we patiently endure, however, we open our minds to what God wants us to see. We move past the suffering and frustration of a difficult situation and enter a place of comfort. Sometimes it is simple changing our self talk to, "Okay, I am unsure of where to go next, but I trust you, Father, that You will show the way." That way is not always instantly shown, but God has promised that He will show us. That promise is our comfort. That is the reason we can endure patiently and serve as an example.

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