…the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4—NIV)

Comfort takes all shapes and sizes. I am not talking of luxury, ease, and refinement. I am talking of issues of character and discipleship. Think of real comfort. There is the comfort of the reassuring voice of Mom in the darkest storm which gives peace. There is the comfort of the close presence of Dad when we take our first dive into deep water which gives courage. There is the comfort of adequate resources when financial pressures mount up which gives confidence. There is the comfort of facing a new challenge with experience under your belt which gives strength to dig in. The godly qualities of peace, courage, confidence, and strength are what shine in the arena of trial and tribulation.

Our text expresses the natural flow of Christian comfort. God stands as the source of refreshment as He is the God of all comfort. He graciously bestows sustaining grace to us in the course of our personal trials. This sustaining sufficiency becomes a well of experience from which we can draw to administer to other believers flagging in their trials. In short, the Refreshing God refreshes his children in their exertions such that they are able to bring refreshment to brothers and sisters in the midst of pressing tribulations.

Paul describes the illimitable vastness of the refreshment at its source. He first identifies God as the Father of mercies Who is Himself a merciful Father. This conjures up images from our own experiences both as children and as parents. Think of the times when you scooped up little ones in your arms when they were in some extreme of distress and smoothed away their tears. God is the most merciful of fathers to His own and will not suffer them to experience the difficulties associated with life and testimony unaided.

God is not only the merciful Father but also is the God of all comfort This supply of comfort is both complete and adequate. There is no lack in His supply and no lack in His provision of that supply. He has all the refreshing we need and is well equipped to overflow our need inexhaustibly, no matter what life or testimony brings our way. He is able!

This heavenly supply is ministered to you, His dear child, in all your tribulation. These trials are not simply the haphazard frailties of life. These are the excruciating, crushing situations which wear away, weaken and weary the saint and would seem to drain him of hope and very often the will to go on. In the din of it all the merciful Father comes alongside and He ministers peace, courage, confidence and strength to his bone weary loved one so that he may soldier on.

This supply of refreshment continues to bubble along from trial to trial, from believer to believer. The refreshed saint has a duty to pass along the refreshment he has received. All the more reason to beg God for refreshment in your present wearying circumstance, so that you may have the resources to be the minister of God’s grace to a harried brother or sister in their pressing trial.

If you take a peek at verse eleven you will see that it endows us with one more gem of truth. It informs us that the whole reason for the comfort given to us to pass along to others is not in the comforting refreshment alone, but that others may return thanks to God. It is then that refreshment from God has run its course and come full circle.

What trials are you facing today? What comfort does God desire to lavish upon you? Is someone around you growing weary in the fight? What duty do you have to your brother or sister? Have you given thanks for divine comfort?