2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (Click on the highlighted text to open these verses in a new window)
Have you noticed how much misery there is in the world today? Everywhere one turns, there seems to be no end of wretchedness, despair, and unhappiness. People often ask me why God allows so much suffering in the world. It is an interesting question, to be sure, but it is one that I cannot adequately answer. I have found myself involved many times in this theological discussion without ever having resolved the issue to anyone’s satisfaction. We always seem to arrive at the stock answers to life’s dilemma regarding suffering.
I have derived an understanding that one of the many paradoxes of the walk of faith is that the grace of an all-loving God seems to be most intensely experienced not in the best of times but, rather, in the worst. Perhaps that accounts for the growth of the persecuted church.
Paul seems to have latched onto a pretty good explanation as to why we experience trials and tribulations. He states that God’s grace works to those who need it through those who have already experienced it. Who better to console us than one who has been through it? We draw strength from those who have gone through the fire, so to speak, and emerged better for it.
The Scriptures never promise us a life without problems. I think too many preachers today accentuate the positive to the detriment of their listeners. The Bible specifically states that we will face trouble. In one instance Jesus himself said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Notice it is peace that He brings, not a trouble-free life. However, as Paul has written in 2 Corinthians, God did promise that He would comfort us in those times of troubles. His point is that, as we receive comfort from God, we should share it with others.
I ask you, will you be a “comforter” today?
Someone’s life may depend on it. Just for the sheer joy of it, ask Him at this very moment to show you someone who needs to hear a word of encouragement or comfort.
Pastor John Roberts
Please welcome our Sunday morning contributing writer, Pastor John Roberts. John is the pastor of New Hope Fellowship in the great Northwest where he resides with his wife of 46 years.
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