”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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.”
II Corinthians 1:3-8 NKJV
God is not surprised by our trials and our pains. We live in a broken world, marred by sin. But in the midst of the pain, God does not abandon us. In fact, he uses that pain to develop perseverance and make us mature believers.
While pain and suffering are essential ingredients to growth and maturity in our faith, we should be careful to avoid boiling Christianity down to a suffering existence. Instead of interpreting our faith through the lens of suffering, we are encouraged to look at our suffering through the lens of faith. When we experience hardship, and see the brokenness of our world's systems, we are encouraged to consider it joy. As citizens of God’s kingdom, these things should serve as reminders our hope is beyond fulfillment in this world—our hope is in Christ! This hope made fully mature in us has the power to change the world.
We do not despair without hope.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NKJV
Prayer: God, use all of my pain and all of my hurt and restore me. Remind me to look at my trials through the lens of my faith in You.