Preparation (Daily Encouragement Series)

Brian Sullivan   -  

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

One aspect of wisdom is being able to look ahead and be prepared for what is coming. Whether it is practice that prepares you for a sport, study for a test, or getting supplies for a hurricane (which we have said it sort of feels like around here minus the gas pump lines). The preparation (what you can control) helps you be ready for what might come (what you can’t control). So we encourage preparing yourselves physically, but also to prepare yourself spiritually. We need to be prepared and know “where to turn” WHEN suffering hits. It is far better to “Know God” – his characteristics, his promises, his goodness, his explanation for suffering – PRIOR to suffering than trying to understand those things in the middle of suffering (although he is gracious to reveal himself whenever we turn to Him). 

With that, it has been a beautiful preparation to be studying 2 Corinthians these past couple months where we have learned “where” to turn and maybe more so “who” we are turning too in the midst of suffering. We can all see suffering has started and will only increase in the coming days and weeks. When it does, we know we have the “Father of mercies and the God off all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” to turn too. Sam Storms expounds on those characteristics of God: 

“…what Paul says that God is the “Father of mercies” and “God of all comfort,” he means more than simply that mercy and comfort come from God. Yes, God most assuredly dispenses these wonderful blessings, but Paul is more concerned to tell us something about God’s character, his personality, the disposition and inclination of his heart. In other words, we should read this passage something along the lines of: “the Father who is characterized by mercy” and “the God whose heart delights in giving comfort 

Yes, of course Paul is describing what God does. But even more foundational is what he says concerning who God is or what he is like. This is his nature, Paul says, his personality, not simply his performance. What God does is a reflection of who he is, and he is above all else characterized by tenderhearted compassion and gentleness and love and a passionate desire to encourage and strengthen those who are suffering hardship and hurt.” 

I’m not an alarmist, but I’m also not foolish. We can simply look around the world and know that suffering is coming and in many ways has come—it’s not normal for everything to be canceled, to not be able to see friends, to not get to gather as a church, for kids to not be able to go to school, to not be able to work, etc. So, prepare yourself physically but also prepare yourself spiritually. “Know” the Father who is characterized by mercy and the God whose heart delights in giving comfort, so when you suffer hardship and hurt you know where to turn…and He will encourage and strengthen you.