“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
(1 Corinthians 1:3-5)
One of the things that I’ve noticed in the lives of many Christians is that, after they’ve been through something traumatic, deeply difficult or discouraging, God uses them in the life of someone else who is going through something similar. Their affliction was used to comfort someone else in affliction.
There’s not escaping trouble in this world. Suffering is simply a part of life as we have it. But one of the ways that God works is through redeeming suffering for the sake of the good. That is, he takes what is wicked and bad and he uses it for the good of those who love him. He takes your suffering and he makes something meaningful out of it.
We don’t always know why it is that God allows us to suffer the way that he does. Many times it’s kept hidden from us. We don’t find out the purpose. But other times, it’s simply that we are able to care for others who have suffered the same fate as we have. We can comfort those with the comfort we’ve received from others and from God.
It’s important to remember that when we’re in the midst of suffering. We may not have an explanation for why we’re suffering. But we can reach out to God for some comfort. And we can trust that we will be able to comfort those who suffer after us with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.
Father, would you comfort us in Jesus Christ, and would you show us those who need to be comforted with the comfort with which you comforted us in our affliction? Have mercy on us, O God of mercy.