We want to keep sharing, and we would love for you to keep reading. We have learned so much, and we feel it is very important that you should know these things. God has allowed us to face trials in order to refine us, so we would pray that you would take comfort in the overflow of the comfort he has provided us.
In Matthew 10:27, Jesus is speaking to His disciples who He has just sent out into all of Israel. Jesus is speaking in the context of the persecution and suffering they will encounter. He tells them in verse 27; “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.”.
In order to begin to share the depth of the discipleship that God has worked in our lives, it was necessary for us to share the whole story of what had happened with Kaiya. It’s important context. When Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, he started his second letter to them in the same way, drawing attention to the great peril that came upon his team in Asia.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – 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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul starts by saying that our God is the God of all comfort. He’s not the God of some comfort, but the God of all comfort. He is the source of comfort for the spiritual battle that we face in this life, and for all the afflictions that come our way. In verse 4, Paul tells us why we receive comfort from God. He says that the comfort is given SO THAT we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the same comfort that God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:5 – For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
Verse 5 says that the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, SO THAT our comfort is also abundant through Christ. We are made for relationship, and we are meant to be a comfort to each other, but the source of all that comfort is God. Remember that we were all made in the image of a relational God who desires relationship with us. So, too, we comfort one another in any affliction as an overflow of the comfort that we ourselves receive. Therefore, the more affliction we face, the more comfort we receive, the more comfort we can offer.
2 Corinthians 1:6 – But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
In verse 6, Paul further clarifies that if we as believers are afflicted, it is for the comfort and salvation of others. If that is the case, how can we hide our affliction? It has to be announced from the roof tops, that everyone might hear and have fellowship in our affliction. When we were in the middle of our darkest hours, other missionary families shared their previous afflictions with us, and it gave us hope. It comforted us. This open, and honest relational suffering and fellowship is effective for the patient enduring of the same sufferings. Ours isn’t the worst story, it’s just another story. Many offered us comfort during our affliction who themselves faced much more difficult afflictions. Many of you who read our stories have suffered greater things than these, but it is the God given relational part of us that wants to share in these sufferings together.
2 Corinthians 1:7 – and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
So, as we share our story, our hope for you is that it would help to further ground you in your sufferings, to know the source of all comfort. Paul explains this in verse 7. Whether you believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation or not, I believe that you were created by the God I worship. I believe that these things give testimony to who He is, and this testimony further proves His existence. My hope is that you would also believe, it’s literally a matter of life and death.
2 Corinthians 1:8 – For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
Just as Paul says in verse 8, that’s why we do not want you to be unaware of the severity of the affliction that grieved our spirit on July 19, 2018. We were truly burdened excessively, beyond our strength or control, and we even thought a life had been taken.
2 Corinthians 1:9 – indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
We take our strength from verse 9, where Paul says why they were so hard pressed that they felt the sentence of death was upon them. However, Paul says this happened SO THAT they would not trust in their own strength, but in God. Not just any God, but the God who raises from the dead. Honestly, this verse is just the beginning of the knowledge and wisdom that God has begun to pour out on us from this whole experience. We had to come to the end of the trust we have in our strength, and come to the place that we had to choice but to trust in God. From that vulnerable place, God started working on our hearts.
2 Corinthians 1:10 – who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,
Verse 10 is the resurrection verse. This is our hope, this is our God, this is His character. In what our enemy intended for our destruction, God has intended for our good. He delivered us from death, He WILL deliver us from future affliction (we know we will face further affliction in this world), and we place our trust on Him. Our hope must be on Him before medicine, before the wisdom of men, before any other god that we might place before HIM.
2 Corinthians 1:11 – you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
Our fellowship is found in verse 11, this is the benefit of our relationship with all of you. He will continue to deliver us, this family of believers, as we join together to hold each other up in prayer. We join together in prayer, and we join together to give thanks to this amazing God who answers prayer according to His will, as a testimony of His faithfulness. The favor bestowed on us as He restored our daughter in miraculous fashion was done through the prayers of many. Remember, this is the relational God who created us in His image, for relationship with Him and relationship with each other. I hope you desire that kind of fellowship with Him, and with us.