“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.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
As far as I can recall I have never heard a sermon on the topic of today’s meditation. Because suffering is difficult to bear, most of us wish to be free from such experiences.
Certainly the preferred state is to have health, a modest amount of wealth, fine relationships with our family and friends, and children who make us proud of them.
The notion that suffering can be a useful tool to use in life is foreign to our mindset in western culture. However, using suffering in appropriate ways can advance the kingdom of God and bring blessing to the one who suffers and to those within their sphere of influence.
Today’s verse speaks of how we can bless people in pain simply by bringing to them our personal ways of being comforted by the Lord.
Telling people in pain what the Lord did for us in our hour of need is most helpful, and God honours such efforts to comfort others. We might simply say to the person in pain, “May I tell you how the Lord helped me in a similar situation?” This is one way to effectively use your sorrow.
Another way to use your suffering for good is mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 where we read,
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When a child of God calmly waits for the Lord to grant them grace to endure hardship, it gets glory to the Lord. The Lord is honoured by His child exercising faith when His mysterious ways are not understood. Submission in that instance is what glorifies the Lord.
Perhaps you are being called to demonstrate the sufficiency of the Lord in times of trial. Or you may be called to minister hope into “hopeless” situations. Whatever the reason for your trial today, do not waste it. Seize the opportunity to honour the Lord by your patient endurance in times of trial. Come before the Lord and present yourself for service. Your Father in heaven waits for you. Come and come today.