2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT) – All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
My own story has been written from a few locations – pain is one of them. One of the main reasons why I love working with young people, 14-18 year-olds in particular, is because when I was going through a really brutal time in my life when I was 16, I discovered Jesus had been perusing me all the while. Paul’s introduction in 2 Corinthians codified my sense of purpose as a young whip because it made me aware that my own pain could be a vehicle for someone else’s healing. Without this verse to help me see that, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.
The same passage in THE MESSAGE Paraphrase: All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.