Truth: Suffering can’t shake our relationship with God and affliction ought not shake our confidence in God.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. — Isaiah 40:1 (ESV)
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. — Isaiah 66:13 (ESV)
Truth: God’s comfort in Christ exceeds all affliction.
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. — 2 Corinthians 1:5 (ESV)
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; — Isaiah 53:3-10 (ESV)
There is a divine purpose in human suffering that is borne for the Gospel’s sake. Thereby the cause of Christ is advance. But one special reason is given in our passage. Those who received encouragement from God are qualified to enter sympathetically into the experience of others whose pathway leads them through a vale of tears. Sympathy is love perfected by experience. — Ralph Martin
If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. — 2 Corinthians 1:6 (ESV)
What we need most is not to hear God say yes to our requests. what we need is to be filled with such deep confidence in the character of our Father that when he says no, we know He is doing what is right and good for us. What we need most is the faith to trust him. Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering, and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want; it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants. It takes great faith to say to God, “Even if you don’t heal me or the one I love, even if you don’t change my circumstances, even if you don’t restore this relationship, even if you allow me to lose what is most precious to me, I will still love you and obey you and believe that you are good. and I believe that you, as my loving Father, will use everything in my life - even the hard and hurtful things - for my ultimate good and your eternal glory, because You love me. – Nancy Guthrie