This week we are beginning the book of 2 Corinthians.
As a follow-up letter from the Apostle Paul, some of the material in this letter continues his teachings from 1 Corinthians.
One of the new themes that he touches on is the issue of suffering.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul writes:
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."
It is interesting to note that one purpose for God to comfort us in our suffering is so that we might be able to comfort others who are suffering.
I know that each of you has gone through difficult times in your life. Indeed, some of you are traveling through a Valley of Darkness even now. It is good and proper for us to ask for God's help when we experience pain and difficulties. But let us also take some advice from Paul and consider how we can be a comfort to others who are hurting.
In such a light, I want to share with you a couple important insights from a recent study by the Happiness Research Institute. Their research explores several variables related to personal wellbeing during this pandemic. The conclusions are fascinating. And here are two of them that caught my attention:
Reading more news about COVID-19 is making us more anxious and stressed out, not less.
"Our data suggests that the media plays an important role in shaping certain fears and worries. Overall, we find that respondents who increased their consumption of any media source to gain information about COVID-19 were more likely to become worried than those who did not." (page 26)
One of the best ways to improve your wellbeing during COVID-19 is to get outside.
"We find that spending even just 15 minutes per day outside can significantly increase life satisfaction." (page 32)
In summary, I want to encourage you to reduce your media consumption, and go for a walk on a regular basis.
And, of course, keep reading 2 Corinthians.