Bible Verse: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3–5

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

One of the problems with suffering is that it feels so useless. It feels like it accomplishes nothing. If we thought that it served a purpose, then suffering would be a lot easier. Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow.”

Paul reminds us that suffering is purposeful. God never wastes our suffering.

Suffering helps us rely on God. Paul writes, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Suffering has a way of helping us to realize how limited our resources really are. We are meant to rely on God, not ourselves. Suffering teaches us this. A.W. Tozer said, “How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.”

Suffering allows us to encourage others who are suffering. Paul says that God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once preached from the text “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” As he preached, he shared some of his experience of depression.

On Monday, someone came to see him. It was obvious that the man was going through a rough time. Here’s what he said to Spurgeon: “I never before, in my life, heard any man speak who seemed to know my heart. Mine is a terrible case; but on Sunday morning you painted me to the life, and preached as if you had been inside my soul.”

God used Spurgeon’s suffering to help another sufferer.

Do you know what God is going to use most powerfully in your life? Not just your strengths. God will use your suffering to help others. Because you have walked through periods of trial, you will be prepared to help others who go through the same trials. The hard things you go through will become something God uses to bless others. Count on it. After all, God used the suffering of Jesus to bless us. It’s how God works.

Darryl Dash, founding pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto, ON


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