Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:1-5
Christian Pastor and Author, Paul David Tripp, writes in his book Suffering, “You never just suffer the thing that you’re suffering, but you always also suffer the way that you’re suffering that thing.” When I read this quote last week it hit me like a ton of bricks. There is so much heaviness and suffering in our world today. We are suffering injustices, financial ruin, a stalled economy, sickness, death, abuse, and difficult relationships. Just scroll through Facebook for five minutes and you will be overwhelmed with the suffering that is in this world right now. But suffering never just stops with what we are suffering from. How we suffer matters just as much as what we suffer.
How do you react to your suffering? Do you withdraw from the people that love you? Do you drink until you forget? Do you run back to getting high to numb the pain? Do you lash out at those who are trying to help? Do you ignore what you are suffering all together in an act of denial? Just to be clear, there is no right way to react to pain and suffering, but there are ways to react that only cause the suffering to increase. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 the apostle Paul says that we serve “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.” How can we be comforted if we are in denial that we are even suffering? Then he gives purpose to our suffering by saying that “we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” How can we find purpose in our pain if we are unwilling to feel it? The reality of pain is that it never goes away until it is felt and the wound is healed. At the end of this verse Paul says that we will suffer. Suffering is a reality. It is part of living in a world that is broken, but he encourages us by saying that “just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” Running away and lashing out at those who love you will only separate you from the support you need to heal. Drinking and getting high will only increase the intensity of what you are suffering, not numb it. Denying that you are suffering, even in the name of “faith”, only further separates you from the God who wants to comfort you.
So I don’t know what or how you are suffering today. I cannot tell you the right way to suffer, but I can promise that if you reach out to God for comfort, that you will receive comfort.
My Prayer for You Father I pray that whatever we are suffering today, that you would comfort us. Help us to run to you with our pain, and let others help us in it. Help us to run away from the things of this world that would claim to be comforters, that are really tools to destroy us. And I pray in faith that you would heal us Lord. Whatever our situation is that you would be in control and heal that situation. You are our provider, our healer, our comforter, and our justice. Help us to suffer well. Amen.
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