we begin today with a new series of writings based on 2 corinthians. if you want to receive these writings daily, please click on the link below and you will receive these as an e-mail.

paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and timothy our brother, to the church of God that is at corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of achaia: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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. [2 corinthians 1:1-4]

in this broken world, that is often full of despair and pain, we long for comfort. that we long for comfort is not against God’s will. this passage makes that abundantly clear. what is against God’s will, what is a sin that grieves his heart, is when we go to any and every place but God for our comfort.

when we consistently go to these places to give us what only God can give us we make this thing, whatever it is, an idol.

i believe the #1 idol of our country – is comfort. it is the predominant idolatrous heart motivation for what drives our dreams, our careers, our hopes for our families, why we vote the way we do, why we believe the theology we do and more. the goal of most americans is to live in way that never makes them uncomfortable, gives them pleasure, and allows them to have a life of ease with the least amount of conflict. when this is one’s life goal, it is easy to see why comfort becomes the idol of choice in our culture.

may the word of God encourage and challenge us today on these two fronts.

1. God never promises his children a life of ease that is void of conflict or pain; rather, he promised persecution and suffering as a means of sanctification. read the first chapter of 2 corinthians and read these passages: phil 3:10; 2 tim 1:8; 2 tim 2:3; 2 tim 3:12; 1 pet 2:21.

today, don’t run from this calling to suffer. instead, embrace your suffering as a means to more fully become who you were intended to be. and, embrace your suffering as a means to reflect the beautiful and powerful image of our savior Jesus.

2. God does promise to be with you, in your suffering, bringing true comfort that heals, restores, and sends you to comfort others with his presence. 2 cor 1:4 lays this out … “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.” (matt 5:4; 1 pet 5:10; 2 thess 2:16-17)

today, don’t run from this calling to suffer. instead, run to the God of all comfort who is comfort. in his presence, we find comfort for he is Comfort. he is not just a way to or the dispenser of comfort. he is Comfort.

today, turn from the place you run to for comfort. instead, turn to Jesus today and ask him to allow you to taste and experience his comfort. ask him to make you aware of his presence that is comfort. ask him for this now and all day.

o LORD, don’t allow me to run from your calling to suffer for your name. please, allow me to embrace it as a gift and then LORD allow me to run to you for comfort, true comfort. turn my heart and eyes from the false comfort i have sought. expose it for the idol it is, the thing i have longed for in your place. o LORD, bring me into your comfort by your presence today … in Jesus name, amen! 

~ john ryan