In the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks at length about the pain and suffering of the early church. While reading the book, you’ll notice that there’s no shortage of the hardships and sorrow that the followers of Jesus experienced. Additionally, Paul brings a Christ-centered perspective on these hardships.
- Those who experience suffering and trouble will experience the blessing of being comforted by God himself.
2 Corinthians 1:5
For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.
- It is when we feel the most hard pressed that we’ll experience the all surpassing power from God within us.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
- Our groaning, while very real, points us to an eternal reality that we are longing for God’s heavenly kingdom.
2 Corinthians 5: 1-4
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
- When we feel burdened, the Holy Spirit is a deposit that assures us of God’s guaranteed hope of His Kingdom reign that is to come.
2 Corinthians 5: 5
Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
- Sorrow can bear good fruit when it leads us to the cross of Jesus where we can repent and experience the joy of our salvation.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.