3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
and God of [source] all comfort [help],
The Greek word for “comfort” means to call alongside to help. The Holy Spirit does this for us; He is our Paraclete or Helper (Jn 16:7). God strengthens, helps, and sovereignly becomes our Advocate.
The word “comfort” occurs 10 times in verses 3-7. Comfort is God’s encouragement or consolation (Ro 15:5). God does not stand aloof from our problems but is there with us giving comfort (Isa 51:12).
“Comfort” does not mean emotional relief or even a sense of well-being. The idea is not of self-centered ease. This comfort is not something that tranquilizes the Christian from pain. Instead, the idea is to be strong, brave, or courageous. The biblical sense of comfort gives the believer strength in weakness with assurance and unbending resolve. The idea is that God provides encouragement and exhortation under challenging times.
God’s comfort is not sympathy. Sympathy without content is sentimentalism. Unadulterated sympathy undermines a person’s dealing with his problems. We need strength, not the placation of feelings.
The word “all” occurs three times in this section: “all comfort” here; “in all our tribulation” in verse 4; and “any trouble” in verse 4 again. There is no gap in God’s sovereign care of the believer. There is nothing that He neglects in caring or providing for the believer.
We experience God’s comfort most in tribulation.
No one is exempt from trouble, whether you are rich, famous, or educated. Everyone must go through painful situations in life. Affliction is part of God’s plan for the believer in a sinful world. Our future in heaven is a different story.
Paul’s prayers were not perfunctory. He did not mindlessly pray when he addressed God. He was conscious clearly of who God was and what He did for the believer. To pray correctly, a person must understand doctrine, especially the doctrine of God. We must understand who He is and what He did.
God meets two of our greatest needs with two great qualities (mercy, comfort). God involves Himself in the direct action of comfort and mercy. He sovereignly intervenes in the trials of believers. We engage with this action of God by claiming His promises.
Biblical comfort is not maudlin, sweet, saccharine sentimentality. That is the kind of comfort people turn to in drink, drugs, and many other forms of sublimation. Instead of focusing on our problems and feelings, our orientation should direct itself to God’s sovereign superintendence of our situation by faith (Ps 121:1-2).
God’s method for extending His comfort toward us is the Scripture (Ro 15:4).