2 Corinthians 1:3-4 The Passion Translation
"All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us."
Suffering is hardly ever preached from our pulpits today, and yet there are many references to it throughout scripture.
Today, I want to focus on the scripture above: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. It is in this scripture that one of the reasons for suffering is revealed.
We can only comfort others effectively as we have experienced God's comfort in the midst of our own sufferings. Once we have received His comfort, we are able to give out of complete understanding, having endured the same suffering or similar suffering to what our brother or sister in Christ is going through and are able to pass on the same comfort God gave to us.
Why is this important?
We are all one body. When one part hurts, we all hurt...or we should.
Think about the last time you were able to provide the exact comfort another person needed. What were the circumstances you endured and how did God comfort you so that you were able to provide the same comfort with absolute confidence?
I recently spent 19 days in hospital. I live with Spastic Cerebral Palsy and found myself in such a vicious cycle of pain and spasm that I simply could not walk. During my time in hospital, I watched as God used my suffering as an example for all those I came into contact with. This included my roommates (I made sure that humour was a large part of our day as laughter is good medicine), the nurses who cared for me, the physiotherapists and rehabilitation aides who challenged me, and the doctors who treated me.
In the midst of horrendous pain, I felt my light shine brighter. Others saw and responded. The miracles, both large and small, were too many to recount here, but even as I remember, I am overcome with gratitude to God, who uses all things together for good, according to His Glory...even my suffering.
This week, I challenge you to comfort those who need comforting. God will bring people across your path...stay alert and quick to respond with the same comfort that God has granted you.
Let your light shine!