Our God is a loving, compassionate, and merciful God. Throughout history man has endured pain, grief, sorrow, and despair. Believers however are not without comfort. All that we need to endure any trial is found in God our Father. Going through trials and afflictions is for sure unpleasant, but the healing process is a great way to grow in grace and become better equipped to help others.
The book of 2 Corinthians begins by talking about God the Father being the God of all comfort.
2Co 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 2Co 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
You see, it is plainly taught here that God is able to comfort believers. This is not only for our sakes, but for the sake of others that we may then be able to comfort them and point them to the one who comforted us.
2Cor 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2Cor 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Paul is saying here that though we share in Christ’s sufferings that we also share in His comfort. Believers are not alone. We also have opportunity to encourage others that may be going through the same types of suffering. Let’s consider what Paul goes on to say in chapter 4.
2Cor 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 2Cor 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 2Cor 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 2Cor 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2Cor 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 2Cor 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 2Cor 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Here we can see that there are afflictions that we will face but it is all temporal. Not only that, but our inward man is renewed day by day. We as believers must keep our focus on the growth and strengthening of our inner man. We will have trouble in our mortal flesh but that is not eternal anyway. One of the most challenging things in going through physical distress is to not lose sight of the overall picture. We as believers might be down for a time but we are never out. We are not out because we always have the Lord Jesus Christ on our side and we will one day be with Him.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Paul gives us the example of how it is a good thing to suffer infirmities. It is not that the infirmities themselves are good things, but that the resulting strengthening of the inner man is beneficial. Paul was one who knew how to keep things in perspective having the eternal reward in view. Think how much better equipped he was in his inner man to help others in the early church because of the strengthening of his inner man as a result of all his sufferings. Paul was sacrificial and knew that his afflictions were temporal and that there was glory to be won for the cause of Christ.
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
We as believers have the ability to go to God with anything that troubles us. God’s peace will keep us and through Christ we can do all things because it is He that strengthens us in the inner man.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Christ, our great high priest, knows everything and has been tempted just like us. He is capable of helping us with any issue. We therefore can come to Him boldly because He is going to receive us with mercy and we will find the grace we need in Him. One of the things to realize is that the devil will attempt to get us to view God as cold and unloving. He would like nothing better that for us to think God is the type that is just looking for a reason to strike us down. Rather, we should remember that He receives His children with love. There can still be times for correction but God always has the best for us in mind.
1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 1Pet5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:1Pet 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1Pet 5:11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Peter reminds us that we can place all our cares upon Him. This is not just because He is capable but because He cares for us. How many times have we gone through a hard time and felt that we were alone and that no one cared. The Bible says God cares. There is however one that is just the opposite. Just like God cares for us, the devil in contrast seeks those whom he may destroy. People who are hurting or have been hurt in the past are vulnerable to the devil if they respond to their hurt sinfully. Say for example a person was hurt by unkind words of another and had their reputation tarnished wrongfully. The person wronged then, instead of going to Christ for the grace to cope, goes his own way and becomes bitter at the offender. The bitter person is now in a place to be devoured so to speak. The devil can’t take away our salvation but he can see to it that our lives are filled with ruin if we continue in sin. Sin itself also is not without its own consequences. It is far better to go to the God of all grace and find the forgiveness that is needed. He is the one that can strengthen us.
A great chapter of comfort is Romans chapter 8. Please take notice of the following verses.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
We as believers can know that we are indeed the children of God. Part of the devil’s game plan is to get us to doubt our own salvation. This however is the last thing a believer needs especially when going through hardship or adversity. The person that struggles with assurance of salvation may be less likely to go to the Lord for the help needed in their current trials. The strength that is available to us in trials is based on the foundation of our salvation in Christ. Many preachers and teachers will try to use the Bible to say if we do certain things then that shows that we may not be saved. Do not listen to such men but rather listen to the Spirit as in verse 16. We need to also understand verse 17 in that we are joint heirs with Christ. It is true that nothing we suffer through now compares to that glory which is to come.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
We are not alone in suffering. All of creation travails together. We do however as believers have a glorious hope and can look forward with earnest expectation to the day is which we received our glorified bodies and are present with our Lord.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Those of us who are born again Christians have the Spirit to make intercession for us. He helps us communicate that which we could not. We have no reason to ever think that God does not understand us. God will see to it that all works out for good in the long run. There will be a day when all sorrow will be wiped away.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Believers can live with this hope. Our victory is in the Lord. In heaven one day God will wipe away all tears. There is waiting for us a future of bliss with God in heaven without any pain, sorrow, or death. Even death itself has lost its sting for the believer. The physical body may die but spirit will live with God forever. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
What about you? Are you currently hurting from something someone has done to you? Have you harbored bitterness or hate? Do you have physical hardships? Maybe you have been told that you deserved bad things to happen to you or were told that somehow God must not love you? Maybe you now doubt God and His goodness? Psalm 136:1 says O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. The rest of Psalm 136 is abundantly clear that God’s mercy endures forever.
Even in your hurting or time of trial you can trust God and go to Him. He loves you, receives you with mercy, and is motivated to help you with whatever it is that He knows that you need. Once you go to Him and receive help, use that to encourage and help others also. We should never act like we are alone rather we should use our experiences whether good or bad to show the love of Christ to others. Send the gospel forth that others may be enlightened by it and come to the knowledge of the salvation that is in Christ.