Small words, which are sometimes called “the fine print,” can be extremely important. That’s especially true when it comes to the Bible – God’s Word.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, 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.
We learn first of the attributes of God. He is merciful and “the God of all comfort.” That’s who He is by nature.
Next, we learn of the action of God. He “comforts us in all our affliction.” Because of who He is, He gives aid and comfort to those of His children who are afflicted, or experiencing trials and tribulations (and who of us can say we haven’t been there ourselves?). Whatever the affliction may be, whether internal or external, God strengthens, encourages, soothes, and quiets us. Just about everyone of us has “been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”
But if we’ve been on the receiving end of God’s comfort -and here’s where the “fine print” of small, but significant words come into play – we’re obligated to give it to others. God comforts us in all our affliction so that (don’t skip over those two small words!) we would give comfort to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are afflicted. “So that” is a “purpose clause,” which means what comes after is the reason, or purpose, of what came before. God comforts us in our afflictions (that’s the action that came before), in order that “we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (that’s what comes after).
God’s comfort is an incredible blessing, but it’s never meant to be hoarded. It’s meant to be shared and passed on. It’s like the infomercials we see on television – after telling us what the product is and asking us to buy it, they add the line, “But wait, there’s more!” In the same way, don’t read the first half of the sentence and then stop. Wait! There’s more! We’ve been comforted by the God of all comfort to give it to others who are suffering.
Don’t waste your affliction or the comfort you’ve received from God.