As most of you already know these past few weeks have been filled with ups and downs. We think of the Olympics and the emotional roller coaster of the athletes, their families and trainers and coaches, and even the spectators, all around the world. And I always think of the old “Wide World of Sports” theme and the saying: “the thrill of victory—and the agony of defeat.” Probably some of you are replaying in your mind that skier going down and hearing the theme song!
Our lives are like that. We do have ups and downs. Our family has certainly experienced that, with a wonderful little blessing in our beautiful granddaughter Ella Mae, now almost two weeks old. But also the news that Joyce’s mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be facing surgery. The blessing of the presence of God and the encouragement and fellowship of our Christian family are especially appreciated during these times.
One of the great passages of Scripture on these thoughts is 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. It reminds us of the great blessing we receive from “the God of all comfort,” but also the call to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” And of course the reminder “that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” I hope that, like I am, you are helped by these words today.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.