So we plow on in this miniseries on “Victory in Our Affliction”.
This is part 4.
Afflictions Help Us Comfort Others
“Blessed be the(B) God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and(C) God of all comfort, 4(D) 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.” 2 Cor. 1:3-4, ESV
Being afflicted with pain and suffering manuevers us into the place of being the source of comfort for others. God’s comfort energizes us to touch others. So many hurt. They are overwhelmed by pain and live in misery. A dynamic is at work here. My pain brings God’s comfort. God’s comfort is transmitted to others by me. They are blessed and are strengthened to go on and touch others.
But its all about the ‘proper use of afflictions’. Will we ‘turn’ and become active in the special economy of God? We must accept that God intends our affliction to be the way of blessing for others. When we hurt so bad, we see that grace flows to those who need Him the most.
How Do We Respond to the Pain?
First of all, we cannot escape affliction. It is inevitable. But will it bless us and others? Pain has an intentionally deliberate purpose for us. Since we cannot escape the pain, it would behoove us to take it and manufacture comfort for others. We must learn to make affliction fruitful.
Rom. 8:28, ESV
Keeping the ‘valves and lines’ open involves special attention to the sins of bitterness and anger. These two are responsible for a great deal of frustration and impotence in the Christian’s walk.
First, We Need to Praise the Lord.
Coming and then staying in this place is critical. We need to learn to praise from the ‘ash heap’. “Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.” 1 Thess. 5:18, CEV. Your heart must not become bitter, you must keep it sweet and responsive. “My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy” James 1:2
Second, We Should Pray.
James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” From the ash heap we should be in prayer. Praying at this time should be as important as praise. Our devotional life needs to lift a notch into these dual disciplines. By the way, prayer is an immense blessing to our our pain. Its like aloe vera to a bad sunburn. Prayer has a soothing and restorative effect on our blistered spirit.
Third, We Should Feed at His Word.
We are instructed, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” Ps. 119:67. When you hurt, really bad it will make your time with the Bible and its promises so precious. When I’m in pain the Word is the most precious thing I can think of. A topical Bible can be very helpful.
“When I am hurting, I find comfort in your Word that leads me to life.” Ps. 119:50
“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.” Ps. 119:92
Four, We Should Strive to be Patient and to Have Faith.
This is not a wooden or artificial issue. We must deliberately choose this direction, daily. Patience is foundational and fundamental. With it, you will survive, without it things will get ugly quick. “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” Rom. 12:12
Faith and patience will bring us a confidence. When we ‘believe’ with a dynamic faith, we will be able to absorb some intense issues. If you have ever driven a car with blown shock absorbers, you will understand.
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:4