Suffering. Pain. Heartbreak. Fear. Sickness. Worry. Death.
All these words carry with them a complete uneasiness. There are few, if any of us who would wish any of these things on another human being. However, these horrible words will one day sweep over us like a tidal wave, washing away the resolution of our spirit and the hope of our heart. When we see the scenes from Moore, OK we are as equally frightened as we are pushed from within to reach out and do something…anything.When we see suffering in the lives of others, many of us are driven to action. So what happens when we are the one who suffers? When our mom dies. When divorce shatters our family. When we are diagnosed with cancer. When we find out our child has autism. Any of these startling events could shake us to the point where we fear we can no longer stand.
The good news for those of us in Christ, is that our God is bigger than any obstacle, instance of suffering or any grave diagnosis. Our Father gives us what we need to endure. He assures us of His love. His promise is that in His strength we can endure. That’s not a flippant word God offers us. That’s not a bunch fluffy words that aren’t acted on. That is the promise of the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Our greatest hope, the work of Christ on the cross, was accomplished through tremendous suffering. Jesus is the one man who was truly “good” and did not deserve to suffer. But He chose to suffer for our sake. Christ knows what it is to suffer. He sympathizes with us in our weakness, pain and heartache. Yet, He does not merely sympathize with us, He is actively strengthening and comforting us through His Word, through His Spirit and through His church. No matter how dark and hopeless things can get, we are promised that He is ever present, ever loving and ever comforting.
His promise is that He will get us through the pain that we face. God also promises that the comfort He grants us in the midst of our suffering is something we are to share with those we come across in our life. There are few things in our life that are more vivid than the times of pain and despair that rock our life. There is also nothing sweeter and more powerful than the victory we see through the comfort that God floods into our lives. The sweetest times that I have experienced God’s grace has come in the middle of my most intense sorrow.
So when that wave of pain comes, rest in Him. That’s what Jesus meant in John 15 when He told us to abide; we are to firmly plant ourselves in Him. As the rush of pain, worry and fear wash over us, Christ is the one who clings onto us, sustains us and binds our wounds. All we must do is to trust.
In the wake of that wave we must realize that we have a calling. We have a gift. the comfort that God has blessed us with is now a testimony of God’s grace and comfort to us. We are a walking/talking example of the active work of Christ. So don’t be ashamed of your fears, hurts and failings. They are the evidence of God’s sustaining grace. We are obligated to tell of the One who held us tightly and loved us as His sons and daughters. Take your comfort that God has blessed you with and allow God to bless others with His life altering grace.