Reading for Tuesday, Sept 18: 2 Cor 1
I’ve used Paul’s description of God as “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (v3) many times over the years. Paul identifies God as the eternal source of encouragement and comfort, intervening into our trying circumstances to bring peace. And we receive a blessing as we, in turn, comfort others with the same kind of compassion that we’ve received from the Lord. “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ,” (v5).
Paul seems interested in helping the Corinthians understand that trials are a part of every Christian’s life. He shares his own difficulties in the province of Asia (v8), saying “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death,” (v8-9). Does that sound familiar? Can you relate to Paul’s words? Is life wearisome? Is your burden heavy? Take comfort; you’re definitely not alone. But listen to what Paul has to say next: “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead,” (v9).
Paul’s travel plans have been modified and he spends some time explaining this to his Corinthian brothers and sisters. But Paul also weaves theology in here. He does not fail to seize an opportunity to capitalize on God’s character in this conversation. “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us…was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ but in him it has always been ‘Yes’,” (v18-19). God’s ultimate demonstration of His character and love is found in Jesus. Human feelings will vacillate; we say one thing, and do another. Not God. His ultimate “Yes” toward us is Christ.
Does God really love us? In Christ, “Yes”.
Does God care about my life? In Christ, “Yes”.
Will God forgive me for what I’ve done? In Christ, “Yes”.
Is there a place in God’s Kingdom for a sinner like me? In Christ, “Yes”.
In all things, “Yes”.
For in him, it has always been “Yes”.