February 4, 2021

Pain and Comfort

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18
Heartbreak, pain, suffering... these are all part of the human condition. And it's the rare person who's never experienced any of them. There are some of the faithful these days who tell us that if we have enough faith, we can avoid suffering: No sickness or disease, no financial hardship, no relationship problems. Such Christians are an historical anomaly, and very unbiblical in their thinking.

The psalms tells us that when we're down, God lifts us up, that God hears the cries of the sick or persecuted. Jesus said not only that the poor, the hungry, the sad, and the outcast were blessed, but also that his followers needed to bear a cross in order to follow him. 

And the Apostle Paul went so far as to make the connection between the amount of pain we're feeling and the amount of comfort we can expect—the word for comfort sharing the same root as Jesus' word for the Holy Spirit. So we should never think that our pain is a sign of God's neglect. As Charles Spurgeon put it, "Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies."
That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings.
 2 Corinthians 1:5 (CEB)
When I experience suffering, O God, direct my eyes to Christ on the cross. There may I see that it is in our pain that we are closest to you.
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