When your world falls apart, when the trials of life swoop in unexpectantly, when that which you loved is taken away, where do you turn? Where do you find comfort? And how do you use your suffering to be a help to others? God’s Word is clear that “…in this world ye shall have tribulation…” (John 16:33). Tribulations, trials, and afflictions will cross our paths at different times and to different degrees throughout our life. Yet in John 16:33, Jesus goes on to remind believers to “…be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
When a person enrolls in in “Christ’s School of Discipleship”, one of the main courses is “Suffering 101”. One of the lessons in this course deals with the “law of flow and overflow”. This law teaches that the comfort we receive from God will be in direct proportion to the suffering that we go through. This law is based on 2 Corinthians 1:5- “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth in Christ.” In other words, as suffering is poured into the life of a Christian, so the comfort of God overflows into our life at the same time. What a wonderful thought that when we go through afflictions as believers, we are promised that “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3) will comfort us “in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 1:4). There is a blessed and balanced proportion of comfort and suffering at the same time and to the same degree in the life of the Christian. May we respond to this truth as the Apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthians 1:3- “Blessed be God” !
One of the major objectives of “Suffering 101” is to teach us that the same comfort that God brings in the midst of our suffering is to overflow from us into the lives of others who are suffering. Notice 2 Corinthians 1:4- “Who comforteth us…that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” In other words, don’t waste your suffering! Rather than allowing trials to turn your thoughts completely inward and focused on self, allow your God-ordained trials to turn your heart outward and make you focused on helping others. God’s comfort is given to you, not so you can hoard it and hide it away, but so that you can give it to someone else in time of need. When God has comforted you, realize that it is given so that you can become a comforter to others.
Have you experienced the comfort of God through the midst of a trial? If so, why not find somebody else who is suffering and extend God’s comfort in your life to them? Has God comforted you with the promises of His Word? Why not share those comforting words to others who need it?
~Pastor Aaron Francis