"Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I used to think of these verses strictly in terms of the so-called "problem of evil". That is, I used to think that this passage only gave a reason for our "troubles", namely, so that we can help others "experiencing any trouble". I no longer view these verses in only this context, and hope to walk you through a whole new way of looking at this Pauline teaching.
Ok, here we go...
Paul begins this section with a brief, straightforward doxology, "Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". He then focuses on a particular aspect of God's character, saying, "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort". Notice that comfort is attached to God (and again at the end of v. 4). In the Greek, the word "comfort" could be taken as a genitive of content, and would read "God is full of all comfort".
Keep that in mind because Paul is going to describe an "interaction" of comfort between God and man. Paul says that God is the one "who comforts us in all our troubles". Notice, God comforts man. But, Paul doesn't stop here, he describes another "interaction" of comfort, "so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble" This time, man comforts man.
Here's where it gets interesting, Paul says that we comfort each other, "with the comfort with which we ourselves were comforted by God." What an incredible concept. First, God comforts man, then man takes that same comfort, and comforts other men.
The implications are startling, God allows us to, how can I say this without sounding heretical, function as God towards those around us. What a humbling thought, that God would choose to use fallen human vessels for His service. Analogous to How God reveals His glory through the heavens (Psalm 19), God actually chooses to reveal Himself through the agency of human beings as well.
My question to you is this, "Can people see God in you?" When someone needs comforting, do you show them the comfort of God Himself? You might be the channel through whom God expresses his comfort. The people around you have the chance to catch a small glimpse of God's comfort through, don't miss this, you! The God of the universe, who had the bright of idea of 'comfort' in the first place, chooses to, at times, give comfort to His creation, through His creation. Amazing.