All scripture is given by inspiration of God. . . ."
I was reading in Acts 16 this morning and when I arrived at the last verse I found that I had previously underlined the phrase, "they comforted them." Immediatly I rememberd why I had done so.
"They" is Paul and Silas.
"Them" is the brethren which at least included the house of Lydia and possibly those of the jailers house as well.
Paul and Silas comforted Lydia and her house and the jailer and his house. Why is this so notable? It is notable because of the events leading up to their being the agent of God's comfort to the brethren.
Vs: 19 - They had been drawn into the market place for condemnation.
Vs: 22 - They were stripped and beaten publically.
Vs: 23 - They were cast into the inner prison.
Vs: 24 - Their feet were made fast in stocks.
It could be easily argued that their previous evening did not go so well. They had a bad night! What did they do in the context of their adversity?
Vs: 25 - They prayed and sang praises unto God.
Vs: 29-34 - They evangelized.
The next day upon their release they went to the house of Lydia. Still suffering from the previous days scourging, and sleep deprived, they comfort the brethren.
These simple but stark realities add strength to the counsel Paul offered the church at Corinth:
2 Corinthians 1:3,4 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
It is these events that also add credibility to Paul's words when he later writes encouraging the church at Philippi to, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." He then calls to witness his own testimony before them, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
Lesson: Adversity is a platform from which we can share God's comfort with others!