“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 our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Trials, pain, and suffering often become unwelcomed guest along life’s journey. Suffering is simply a part of our human condition as we live in a fall world plagued with tragedy, sickness, disease, brokenness, and emptiness. Such occasions quite often find us in places of doubt, hopelessness, and helplessness. When these seasons or circumstances touch our lives, they become intense tests of our faith – the very foundations of what we believe. We intensely ponder what we truly believe about God and His character, along with what we truly believe about His intentions and purposes for our lives. Deep seasons of pain, trials, or tragedy can find us in a dark pit of despair – disoriented, confused, and left holding a hurting heart full of more questions than answers.
In referencing what appear so often to be our many unanswered questions, Pastor Johnny Hunt remarks, “When God chooses not to give us all the answers, He gives us more of Himself.” If we seek to walk more closely with the Lord, and desire to know more of Him during such times, He promises not only to comfort us, but also the very comfort we receive through our suffering will overflow into the lives of others for their benefit. God never waists our suffering, but rather He will use those seasons or circumstances to build into our lives His godly character, and cultivate in us a deeper faith & trust in Him, as He prepares us to be used in the lives of others for His purposes.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for Your promise to comfort us in our times or seasons of pain and suffering, enabling us to be used in the lives of others to comfort them, and point them to You. Give us a deeper faith and trust in our walk with you which does not demand to have all the answers to life’s most difficult questions. May we desire a closer walk with You, longing to know more of You rather than to become discontented and bitter. Thank you for the great comfort You provide for us in order that we may be a source of Your true comfort and compassion to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Brothers, as an example of perseverance in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. And you have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” - James 5:10-11
One of the most critical elements of the Christian journey is the development of “Perseverance,” the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition (Webster’s Dictionary). In fact, here James tells us there is actually blessing that comes as a result of perseverance in “the face of suffering.” As I’ve mentioned countless times in the past, I believe scripture reveals to us how God does some of His greatest work in our lives through times or seasons of Suffering. We’re told to “consider blessed those who have persevered,” looking into their journey for both renewed assurance and inspired hope in the Lord to walk us through any trial of this life. In the opening chapter of the book of James, he penned divinely inspired words with a powerful perspective on perseverance as he wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Perseverance in the face of trials and suffering does, however, call for us to wait on the Lord to move in His timing, and according to His will for us. James wisely proclaims in the midst of such seasons or circumstances, “perseverance must finish its work,” meaning our task is one which calls for patience and endurance as God teaches us, molds us, and works in us all that He has for us in a given situation of life. We can draw strength to persevere through looking into the lives others in scripture such as Job who endured many difficult trials, yet persevered, or even looking to those around us in the faith who are persevering in the strength of the Lord despite overwhelming circumstances. In witnessing God moving within our lives or in the lives of others, we will see and experience His compassion and mercy on full display. Remember today, if you’re walking through a time or season of suffering, it is the Lord who will enable you to persevere, and will pour blessing over your life as He brings you through to the other side.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to walk with us through times, seasons, and circumstances in the face of suffering. You are our God, who always knows what is best for us, and what You desire to work in and through the trials of life. May we cling to You and the truth of Your promises in order to persevere, receiving the blessing You have for us as You carry us through the hills and valleys, and the twists and turns of this life’s journey. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.