Consolation Granted through Prayer
Key Verse: “Our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”
FROM THE OUTSET of this epistle, Paul attests to the divine authority he had received for his ministry by identifying himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” He did not appoint himself to this position, nor did he receive his ordination from man. In saluting the Corinthian brethren, he expressed his desire that they should receive grace and peace from God the Father through his son, Jesus Christ.—II Cor. 1:1,2
Paul continued, saying, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (vss. 3,4) Paul was able to comfort others because although he endured many sufferings by virtue of being reproached for the name of Christ, nevertheless he received divine consolation that strengthened him in the midst of his afflictions.—vss. 5,6
Our Key Verse underscores Paul’s confidence that the sufferings of the Corinthian brethren would be more than compensated for by the joys of their spiritual begotten condition as New Creatures in this life. If faithful, they would have the further prospect of spirit birth and obtaining a heavenly inheritance. This would enable them to rejoice in the presence of the Father throughout eternity.
Paul then alludes to severe trials which came upon him in Asia even though their exact nature was not stated. They were so overwhelming, however, that he anticipated the possibility of death. Yet, he acknowledged that God, who had delivered him in the past, would continue to provide him with the necessary strength to endure until the time when he would be permanently released from the tribulations associated with his faithfulness in following the Master’s footsteps.—vss. 8-10
In verse 11, we read, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.” Here Paul acknowledges the value of intercessory prayer on his behalf, thereby furnishing an example for imitation as we petition the throne of heavenly grace to provide succor for consecrated believers who might otherwise faint under the burden of various trials.
Persecution for righteousness sake is something all of the Lord’s elect will experience in their lives. According to the flesh, none of us desires such suffering. However, because we have pledged to follow after the Master’s example, we are to strive mightily to proclaim the truth of God’s kingdom and promised blessings for mankind despite opposition we may encounter from others. Such trials that we presently endure are but light afflictions as contrasted with the glory that shall follow, if faithful.
May each of us appreciate our many blessings, even when persecuted, as a source of strength while we strive to be faithful to our calling.—Matt. 5:10-12