“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom
and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus,
was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God
and the testimony of Jesus.”
Revelation 1:9 (NIV)
A common saying in western society is that “misery loves company”. It refers to the idea that people who suffer in a specific manner find comfort in the presence of others going through the same problems.
Alcoholics Anonymous is successful because it is a program of reformed alcoholics who coach people struggling with the same issue in life. People feel secure around others who know from experience what they are facing.
A widow of 5 years is a better person to visit and comfort a new widow than the church elders. The one who has been widowed for 5 years knows how they learned to cope with being single again and can pass on valuable lessons to someone just beginning the journey. It makes sense.
This is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV) when he speaks of God as the Father of mercies and 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.”
Those of us who have gone through difficult times have a responsibility to speak to others about how the Lord has strengthened us in our sorrow. Telling others of how we were comforted does two things.
- We give glory to God for His faithful way with us, and
- We reveal to the person in pain one way the Lord might help them through their hard time.
The Lord may do exactly for that person what He did for us. In any event the sorrowful person learns from us that God is faithful and thus there is hope for them.
Perhaps you need to show love to someone you know by relating your faith journey through the desert of sorrow. The person may turn a deaf ear to someone who has not experienced their problem but they realize they must listen to the voice of experience. There is an authority and authenticity in the testimony of a person who has come out the other side of trauma that cannot be swept easily away.
Who is waiting for a word of hope from you today? Pray about an opportunity to tell of the Lord’s amazing grace in your life. If you kept a journal in your dark time reread it and let it call to your mind the verses of Scripture, the kind deeds of others and the many other ways the Good Shepherd held you close and assured you of His love and care. Misery does love company and a special kind of company at that.