Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The God of All Comfort

"I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit; it is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary."

~Charles Spurgeon

I can't say that I've gone through the same things you have been through.  I won't say that my circumstances are better than yours, and I won't say that my circumstances are worse.  No matter what may appear on the outside, the fact is that everybody suffers on some level.  


Because we live in a fallen world.

We all have bad days, we all suffer from trials.  And if you are a fellow believer, you can rejoice with me in the fact that our suffering is not in vain!  He has purposed it for a reason.  We can believe that life consists of more than ourselves; that there is a greater purpose.  It is within that promise that we find Hope.  

If I believed that my life was all about my happiness and my comfort, then any suffering that came my way (and it would come my way) would impart to me complete misery and despondency.  

But because our Savior is more powerful than even death, I can believe that my life on this earth is not where it ends for me.  Abundant life awaits me after death.

But, what about while I'm here?  As a Christian, what do I do with the trials I go through while I'm still living?

I can rejoice in them (James 1:2-3)
...because I can trust that God will use them to make me more like Christ.  As a Christian, I want to please God more than anything, because of what He has done for me by saving me.  I want to become more like His Son, who was the only perfect human who ever lived.  I want to live a life of thanks unto Him for the salvation He has given to me, a wretched sinner.  

I can be thankful in them (1 Thessalonians 5:18) 
...because nothing can happen to me which isn't allowed by God (Matthew 10:28-29).  Since this is true, I can know that He will give me the strength to endure.  Even the death of His own Son, Jesus, would not have happened if He hadn't willed it.  I can honestly give Him praise, because I know that He is sovereign and is in complete control.

I can use them to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
...because of the great comfort He gives me in the midst of the trial.  This may not come for a while, but it may come.  Whatever evil we may face in life, we must never forget that God is good.  Suffering is not wasted.  It will accomplish His purpose and can be used to encourage others who may walk the same road at a later time.  That is one reason why anger and bitterness must never take root in our lives!

I think most would agree that life is interesting.  It is a journey full of joy, milestones, wonder and yes, trials.  And certainly this isn't a comprehensive commentary on the afflictions that we bear in this life.  But rather, these are thoughts to consider - merely the beginning, really.  God has packed the Bible full of instruction and promises dealing with the circumstances of our lives on earth!  The quote by Spurgeon at the beginning challenges me, encourages me and frankly, causes me to reflect on whether it is true of me.  I sure hope it is, because it is this sort of thinking and attitude that truly glorifies the Lord in our trials.

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