Church Bulletins
 
November 28, 2021                    

   

   The Blessings of Suffering

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-10  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  (4)  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  (5)  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.  (6)  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  (7)  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.  (8)  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:  (9)  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:  (10)  Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

 

     Though the apostle Paul is referring specifically to his suffering for the gospel’s sake, he does begin by saying that God, because He is the God of all comforts, comforts us in all of our tribulation.  For this reason it would seem that the Lord is telling those saints at Corinth, as well as all believers, that He is ready, willing, and able to comfort us whatever comes our way.

    Paul first praises God for the great comfort and consolation He has faithfully extended toward him and then follows with the reason why.  He lets us know that God, as in everything He does, has a perfect divine purpose in allowing the tribulation. The Lord comforted him, so that he would be able to comfort others with the same godly comfort.

     I know everyone of us could testify to this great truth.  How many times have you been comforted and encouraged by someone who has gone through something similar?  On the other hand, how many times have you been able to be an encouragement to someone who was going through something you had already previously experienced?

     There are none of us who would say that we enjoy or look forward to the opportunity to suffer for any reason.  We are for the most part creatures of comfort, but God has called us to something beyond what is acceptable to the natural man.  He has actually called us to a life of sacrifice and suffering, simply because it is in and through these times when we are drawn ever closer to Him and He is then most glorified.

         I recently read an account from a story Charles Spurgeon related in one of his sermons that was a great blessing to me along these lines. 

A minister of Christ going to visit a very, very poor man, gives this description. He says, “” I found him alone, his wife having gone out to ask help of some neighbor. I was startled by the sight of the pale emaciated man, the living image of death, fastened upright in his chair by a rude mechanism of cords and belts hanging from the ceiling, totally unable to move hand or foot, having been for more than four years entirely deprived of the use of his limbs, and suffering extreme pain from swellings in all his joints. I approached him full of pity, and I said, “Are you left alone, my friend, in this deplorable situation?” He answered with a gentle voice his lips were the only parts of his body which he appeared to have power to move. “No sir, I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” I began to talk with him, and I soon observed what was the source of his consolation, for just in front of him lay the Bible upon a pillow, his wife having left it open at some choice Psalm of David so that he might read while she was gone, as he had no power to turn over the leaves. I asked him what he had to live upon, and found that it was a miserable pittance, scarcely enough to keep body and soul together, “”But,” said he, “”I never want anything, for the Lord has said, ‘Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure,’ and I trust in him, and I shall never want while God is faithful to his promise.” “I asked him,””says this minister, “whether he did not often repine on account of suffering so acutely for so many years. “Sir,” said he, “I did repine at first, but not for the last three years, blessed be God for it, for I know whom I have believed, and though I feel my own weakness and unworthiness more and more, yet I am persuaded that he will never leave me nor forsake me; and so graciously does he comfort me that when my lips are closed with lock-jaw and I cannot speak a word for hours together, he enables me to sing his praises most sweetly in my heart. ”Now here was a man to whom the sun of all earthly comfort was set, and yet the sun of heaven shone full in his face, and he was more peaceful and happy in deep poverty and racking pain than all you or I have been in the health and strength of youth.

      I had to repent of my moments of feeling troubled over the few and tiny things I have suffered in my life after I read this.  What a wonderful testimony of God’s consolation even in the midst of such suffering.

 Romans 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 

    Lord, please remind us when You are allowing suffering to touch us, that You are “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,” and it is always so that we may more glorify and honor in everything we do.
 
 
 

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