(By Rachel Joyce)
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. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too (2 Cor 1:3-5).
When we have experienced loss and grief, what a consolation it is to know that our God is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort! In describing our God as the Father of mercies in 2 Corinthians 1:3, the apostle Paul used the Greek word for mercies, oiktirmos, which means pity, mercy, and compassion. Oiktirmos includes both the emotions and the manifestation of them (Thayer). I’m so thankful that our God is not aloof from our suffering. He shares in our sorrow and demonstrates His love and mercy to us in very real ways. He truly is the God of all comfort. This word comfort, in the original text, is linked to the word used to describe the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the One who draws alongside us to advocate, intercede, and provide comfort.
The comfort of friends can only go so far. We may love each other deeply, but for each of us, grief and pain are intensely personal. We cannot fully understand and can never fill the gap caused by the pain another feels. But our God can. Our Father of mercies and God of all comfort cares deeply for us. He is also the One who sits on the high and lofty throne, who sees all and knows all, understands every detail of the trial which is so hard to bear. His own hands formed us so many years ago and He knows the sorrow we feel. Every time it grips our hearts, His hands hold us gently and He whispers to give it to Him. As we grieve our profound loss, His heart grieves along with us and He reminds us that He is the Comforter who will never leave us. When we are tempted to despair, He promises us that He is the God of hope who is able to carry us and bring us through, every step of the way. He is our Healer who tenderly mends our broken hearts. His love can heal every wound. His grace can strengthen and uphold us. Unlimited love. Unlimited grace. Unlimited comfort. What a God we have! He is worthy of all our praise! Blessed be His name!
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18).