Purpose In Our Pain

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

God wastes nothing.

Nothing.

Not even our pain.

Because of the Suffering Servant – crucified – and raised to Life, even our pain here on earth is being redeemed.  And there’s not one thing the enemy can do about it; he gives us his best shot, and Christ promptly takes it and transforms it, using it for His glory. Satan loses.  Again.  And again. And again.

As God is infinite, His purposes are infinite.  One purpose for our pain, as Paul explained in the passage above, is so that we can comfort others who follow us on a path of suffering similar to our own.  And many will follow.  Consider the following words in regard to how God uses the pain of His precious children to (1) draw us to Himself, and (2) give us the ability to comfort others:

Such is the paradoxical claim of Christian theology, but it is a claim whose truth is daily substantiated by a curious fact: it is those who have suffered the most – not those who have suffered little – who have the strongest faith in God.  In the modern Western world, it is invariably healthy, prosperous academics who work in clean, well-lit offices who complain the most about the problem of pain.

When a businessman once asked Mother Theresa where God is when a child is dying on the streets she purportedly replied, “God is with that child,” and then added, “The real question is not where God is, but where you are.”

I do not say this to scoff or accuse; I say it because it’s true.  The great saints and martyrs of the Bible and the church age from Moses and Joseph to Daniel and Jeremiah to Peter and John to St. Francis and Luther to Bonhoeffer and Mother Theresa all suffered in body and spirit – and then went forth to relieve as best they could the pain and suffering of others.  (Dr. Louis Markos; Apologetics for the 21st Century)

We, and the believers Markos mentions above, find our model – and source of strength – for helping others in the One the Bible tells us was acquainted with sorrow:  Jesus Christ.

Are you hurting today?  Lift up your heads!  Jesus is whispering to you, “I’ve got this.  I’ve got you. Trust Me.”

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

“Suffer With Me”

Those words cited in the title, written by Paul to a young Timothy, are sobering to be sure. (2 Timothy 2:3) But, they take on a new – painful – meaning when we suffer. I’ve always said that “suffering as Christians” is that side of the gospel we rarely hear preached about on Sundays.

Something has happened to my family since our son/brother, Jordan, took his life and walked into Paradise. We see the pain of the world. More than that though, we can feel it. (Just like Jordan did.)

But this has only made my/our purpose on planet earth more acute. For we’ve now experienced that, even in our most unspeakable suffering, Jesus is there.  My hurting friends – there is Hope. There is Peace. There is Love. There if Life.  His name is Jesus Christ. He suffered too.

When we hurt, Christ hurts. But, more than that, He absorbs our hurt retroactively from the Cross. From Isaiah 53….

“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (53:3-5)

The Bible (as well as extrabiblical ancient history) tells us:  JesusDid.  Suffer. Horribly.  However, He now lives and reigns.  And because of this, Paul encouraged the suffering Roman believers, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (8:18)

The photo here is today’s entry from the devo, Jesus Calling. To all who are hurting, weary, confused, angry, suffering…..Jesus is whispering to you, “I’ve got this. Trust Me.”   Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

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