“… who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
The Apostle Paul has just experienced life threatening persecution when he was stoned in Lystra. As he describes that experience for the Church in Corinth he gives them (and us) a perspective on suffering. He writes that there is a kind of suffering that drives us to God and there is a quality of comfort that can only be found in God when the level of our suffering drives us to Him.
According to Paul, an evangelist is “one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.” A hurting heart that has discovered the comfort that can only be found in God is “one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the Comfort is.”
As a pastor when I met grief stricken parents who had lost a child, since I had never suffered that loss I sent a couple to comfort them who had lost a child and found the comfort of God to help them. Any time your heart is hurting because God has permitted you to suffer, realize that you are being given a credential by God. As you find the comfort that is to be found in God you are now qualified to point any person with that same problem to the comfort you discovered when you had that hurt in your heart.
Although you will not answer all of the “why” questions until you know as you are known, are you willing to let this perspective bring some meaning and purpose to your suffering?
Or would you rather choose to waste your sorrows?
Dick Woodward, 10 March 2012