Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
We all need someone we can go to in our times of distress, whether this may be physical suffering and illness, discouragement at work, or perhaps the loss of someone we love. We all need a shoulder to lean on, indeed to cry on. We need someone we can trust, someone who cares for us, who will comfort and encourage us in those dark times.
Paul had to contend with more problems than most of us will ever face and he knew the value of trusted friends who could share his burdens. He knew one friend above all others who cared, comforted and encouraged him. That friend was God - "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort". Nine times in a very few verses Paul speaks about comfort; God comforting us, and we in turn comforting one another in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The word comfort itself is a many-sided word. It not only acts like a friendly arm put round us in a warm embrace to share our sorrow and pain. It is a word to help us pick ourselves up and get going again when we have been floored by life's hard knocks. Paul experienced such help from God and used this to assure others God will do the same for them. And now he is urging us both to put our trust in God when we are feeling low and then to share the good Lord's comfort and encouragement with our friends.
Thank you Lord that you are the God of all comfort. Amen.