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.”
(2 Corinthians 1:3-7) 

Sitting in the 1st year Psychology class in University over forty years ago, I was introduced to George Miller’s 1956 paper in Psychological Review: “The Magical Number Seven plus or minus Two: some limits on our capacity for processing information.” It has become known as ‘Miller’s Law’ and has popularly been described as quantifying human memory capacity. It is usually phrased something like this: “the average person can comfortably hold seven (plus or minus two) pieces of information in their short-term memory.” Just think of your shopping list or task list… (So, why do so many preachers have only three points? Perhaps we have small brains and are particularly memory-deficient?!) 

So here are three points of reflection this week from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. 

God’s comfort is personal:our Lord Jesus Christ…comforts us” (v.3). The language referring to God’s comfort is possessive: ‘our’ and ‘us.’ His comfort is not some generic package or emotional sticking plaster but a personalised and tailored care especially for each of us. He knows us individually and our needs.  

God’s comfort is universal: “…in all our troubles…in any trouble…” (v.4). His comfort covers absolutely anything and everything that afflicts us. It is not limited or localised. There are no conditions, exemptions, or exclusions. He comforts us in whatever ails us or puts us under pressure. Those little words ‘all’ and ‘any’ cover every conceivable issue. 

God’s comfort is mutual:so that we can comfort…with the comfort we ourselves receive…” (v.4). His comfort is for sharing and passing on. It spreads. It sets a model and a pattern for us to follow. It’s a blessing to share with those around us. 

May you know God’s comfort.