The Apostle Paul often wrote of suffering and affliction. He personally dealt with copious amounts of suffering in his Christian walk (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). But he never used it as an excuse to stop serving. In fact, at the start of his second letter to the church at Corinth, he explained this benefit of suffering. He opens the letter in 2 Corinthians 1:3 praising God for being our Father, for being a merciful Father, and calls Him “the God of all comfort.”
Paul then goes on to explain in the verses that follow that this God who comforts us in our times of suffering does so not just to get us through our suffering, but so that we might minister this same comfort to others. Even in our suffering and through His comfort, God is opening doors of ministry for us to share what we have learned with other people. Warren Wiersbe in his commentary on Job entitled Be Patient wrote this:
“God’s comfort is never given; it is always loaned. God expects us to share it with others.”
And then Paul takes us one step further by explaining what God wants us to do with that same comfort He brings to us – to share it with others.
When I recall the times of greatest suffering in my life, I find comfort knowing that my suffering was not in vain. Some of the best times of ministry for me have been the times that I have been able to testify of God’s comfort in my life which has directly helped someone walking a similar path. This is really one of the many purposes of suffering in any believer’s life.
Maybe you are walking through a path of suffering today. May I encourage you that God has comfort ready for you if you will run to Him? And this suffering is not in vain! Maybe you have been through times of suffering and remember experiencing the comfort of our God. May I encourage you to share that with someone else? Remember that the comfort of God is only on loan to you for your time of need. Who do you need to encourage today with God’s comfort?
Have you ever experienced the comfort of God in your personal suffering?
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