Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction and the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
Words had been said. Actions had been taken. Hurts were being nursed. The small disagreements had only grown until Paul had feared that his special relationship with the Christians in Corinth was permanently damaged.
When signs of reconciliation began to happen, Paul was inspired to write the letter I am drawing from today. Clearly the theme of this passage is consolation. Paul is consoled that the community wants to be reconnected. He hopes that the community will be consoled that the breach can be mended.
In my praying this week for all who have died and their families, for the ill and those who are risking their lives to care for them, for our first responders and those setting up shelters and hospitals, for those seeking a vaccine for this deadly virus, for those who have lost their jobs or those who are afraid of losing their business, for those who are shutting down or worried sick, today’s passage on consolation has kept on coming to me.
There are so many things we need right now—courage, patience, understanding, wisdom, maturity, truth; and we also need much consolation. What’s the most consoling thing someone can do for us? To come alongside of us, not to feel sorry for us—that’s pity, but to feel with us, to share our plight, fears, hurts, and struggles.
As we meditate upon all that Jesus went through during His last week, I believe we can receive much consolation. As we see Jesus being betrayed, denied, scorned, and framed; as we see Him struggling, getting angry, and doubting; and, finally, as we see Him suffer and die, I hope we are seeing and believing that there is no part of the human condition that Jesus didn’t go through, and no part of what we go through that He will not share with us.
In all this consolation, what is our hope? Our hope is this: No matter what is going on or not, no matter what we have lost or suffered, no matter what we are fearing or worried about, no matter, Jesus is with us. His solidarity with us, His willingness and desire to share all with us, is our hope.
Jesus’ consolation isn’t only about comfort, it is also about strength. He not only comes alongside of us, but He will also pick us up and help us to carry on. Jesus doesn’t just join us where we are, but helps us to prevail. And that is the story of Good Friday and Easter. His pain, nor our pain, is the end of the story. Just as He was raised up, so He will raise us up. And that hope is also our consolation.
- Where and how do you need to be consoled by Jesus right now?
- Jesus doesn’t just console us; He also strengthens us. How do you need Him to strengthen you during these times?
- Is there someone Jesus might be asking you to console?