We're so excited to be kicking off this year's blog with 2 Corinthians! Throughout this series, we will guide you in discovering the author's meaning as well as how this practically applies to our lives today. We will be skipping around, but we encourage you to read all of 2 Corinthians as we go!

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.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV

The purpose behind suffering

In this passage, Paul is explaining the purpose behind suffering. He’s saying that those who suffer are also the ones who receive comfort - without suffering, we don’t have comfort. God’s desire isn’t for His children to suffer, but He does use our suffering to offer us comfort that we wouldn’t otherwise know who to receive.

The ultimate comforter

I love that God is like this. It’s possible that He, Himself is the one doing the comforting. I know there have been times when I have felt directly comforted by God, but more often than not He comforts through community with other believers. I would say 99% of the time, God comforts me through one of my friends who understands suffering as well and wants to provide as much comfort as possible.

Comfort through community

As you’ve gone through the transition to college these past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve had several moments where you were suffering and would have loved to have the comfort of a friend who can say, “I’ve been there. That’s rough, I’m sorry. Should we get some ice cream?” Most of you are likely still figuring out who those friends are going to be - don’t get discouraged if you feel like it’s taking longer than you expected, that’s perfectly normal! But my suggestion would be to put yourself in a good position to build friendships like that. At Freshley, the way we help facilitate this is through small groups on Monday nights at 8pm each week. We encourage you to come on Monday and sign-up! If you’re already in a small group, my suggestion would be to really be honest and open. Also have fun and be yourself! (P.S. - my roommate and best friend of 3 years was in my Freshley small group my freshman year. It really works!)

-Michele Houston