2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (NRSV)
Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. 6 If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.
8 We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, 11 as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
We are in a time of affliction.
Sheltering in place and the loneliness and financial hardship that come with serving others by staying home is difficult.
Working from home with bored and lonely kids is difficult.
Reading about the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police is difficult.
Reading mean-spirited things on Social Media is difficult.
Planning for the future is difficult.
In the midst of our affliction, Paul speaks up! Telling us that our Blessed God is the God of all consolation, who consoles us in ALL our affliction. And he tells us that our suffering now, even our abundant suffering is for the consolation and salvation of others.
I didn’t poke through my Bible in search of a passage that would speak to us today-this is the assigned reading for today in a prayer guide that I like to use. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
For today, I am in prayer for you and I ask that you be in prayer for me. My prayer, our prayer, is that our suffering and affliction will not be in vain but instead will bless others, will help others and will help us all to grow in trust and faith in God.