Comfort During Suffering
Suffering can range from mild to severe. Short term to long term. So, where can we find comfort during suffering? Tag along with me while I learn this concept.
"All praise to God, the Father our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort."
- 2 Corinthians 1:3, NLT
Paul was no stranger to suffering. In fact, he went on a little bit of a boasting spree about his suffering for Christ. Paul was defending himself against the false teachers and the charges against him, but also, he wanted to make sure that the Corinthians did not get mislead by the false teachers as well. Stating, "Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again" (2 Corinthians 11:23, NLT). The boasting continues, but lets not forget that Paul also had to endure life with a thorn in his side, that the Lord would not take away even after Paul's multiple requests. God's response to Paul each time after the three requests was, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT). So, Paul has faced more than enough suffering, and as a result, he can encourage us and remind us where our comfort comes from.
I've experienced my fair share of suffering and have struggled to find comfort and a sense of safety. Loosing both of my parents by the time I was 22 wasn't what I had expected for my life, and that type of grief and suffering is something I'm working through. And that's just one example of suffering, definitely more on the extreme side, but still painful. But I look at Paul and he's both inspirational and a little bit of an enigma to me. How was he able to go through life with a thorn in his side, yet, still keep his eyes on Christ? Lot's of practice I'm sure. Cause just like us all, Paul was human and still struggled with everyday life.
But as I continue reading in Corinthians, I get a glimpse at how Paul was able to adjust his train of thought. After discussing the beautiful visions he experienced, he stated "even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud" (2 Corinthians 12:7, NLT). Now, we don't know exactly what Paul's thorn was, but we can relate to him in the sense that there are certain life circumstances or struggles that are a thorn in our flesh. Furthermore, Paul didn't just politely ask for God to take away this thorn, Paul stated "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away" (2 Corinthians 12:8, NLT). He BEGGED. I sure can relate to begging God to take away certain sufferings and difficult circumstances. However, similar to Paul, the response I got wasn't necessarily the one I wanted. And I had to learn to adjust what I want to what God wants for me. Learning that His Grace is all I need, and that in my weakness His power works in and through me. How cool is that!?
"Each time He said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
- 2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT
Even though in our weakness Gods wonderful power works in and through us, doesn't mean it takes away all the pain and heartache. Jesus is a great example of that. He was unflawed and lived a perfect life (no sin here! lol), but yet, He experienced both Gods power and suffering. On several occasions, Jesus needed to go be alone and pray because he was hurting and anxious. Even more, Jesus knew that He would sacrifice His life to take on and endure all the sin, suffering, and pain of the world. So, I have to remind myself on a daily basis that Christ is the best person to go to when I'm suffering, because He suffered far more. He gets it, because He lived it. <3
And so that's what I'm learning, that in my suffering Christ is the source of all my comfort. He can handle my bad days, my moments of deep sorrow and pain, and moments where I question and doubt. He can handle it. Paul, as much as an enigma as he is to me, got it right. In my weakness, Christ makes me strong. He makes you strong. He makes us strong.
What is Truth?
In suffering, God is the source of all comfort.
When you feel like no one could understand or sympathize with what you're going through, remember that Jesus does. He experienced the ultimate suffering, because He loves you.
A thorn in your flesh might be painful and difficult, but Gods grace is sufficient enough to help you.
In your weakness, Gods power works in and through you. So, as a result, you are strong. Very strong.
Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 1 & 12