Comfort in Difficult Times
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Sometimes God permits suffering to speak through our life and testimony to comfort others. Jesus said that the sufferings of the blind man in John 9 were so “that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”1
God might work in your life through suffering to inspire others by your example in adversity. Those who endure adversity can sympathize and identify more effectively with others in their sufferings. We comfort others in the way we are comforted. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”2—Billy Graham3
When you’ve passed through your own fiery trials, and found God to be true to what he says, you have real help to offer. You have firsthand experience of both his sustaining grace and his purposeful design. He has kept you through pain; he has reshaped you more into his image. … What you are experiencing from God, you can give away in increasing measure to others. You are learning both the tenderness and the clarity necessary to help sanctify another person’s deepest distress.—David Powlison4
There was a man walking along on a cold winter day. Suddenly hitting a patch of black ice, he fell, and then bam! He wasn’t expecting this but found himself on the ground, cold, wet, humiliated, and seemingly alone. He had cut his elbow and was bleeding quite a bit. He wanted to go crawl into a hole and hide. His first thought was complete embarrassment for what had happened and he wondered if anyone had seen him fall so abruptly. Before he realized it, a stranger was kneeling by him to grab his arm, helping him back to his feet. He felt embarrassed by the situation. However, the stranger wasn’t focused on that at all. Instead he focused on showing love and compassion while making sure the man was okay. He knew he was hurting and came alongside him, helping him mend his wounds. …
We get the wonderful privilege as brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside our struggling family and show them the love of God. I love that! We get to take part in showing them the great and mighty things our Lord and Comforter can provide. We get the honor of showing hurting and struggling souls that they are more than the diagnosis they carry. They are the beloved son or daughter of the perfecter of faith, Jesus Christ.
We cannot fix the struggle, but we can kneel down in love, grab an arm, with support and love, and be with our friend in the struggle.—Rodney Holmstrom5
“The God of all comfort.” All sorts of comforts are stored up in God. No matter what you may require to bear you up under your affliction, God has just the kind of comfort which you need—and He is ready to bestow it upon you! Rest assured of that and also believe that He will bestow it upon you if you ask it at His hands. Oh, I think this is a name full of good cheer to everyone who has grown weary because of the trials of the way through this great and terrible wilderness! God is the God of all comfort—not merely of some comfort, but of all comfort. If you need every kind of comfort that was ever given to men, God has it in reserve and He will give it to you! If there are any comforts to be found by God’s people in sickness, in prison, in need, in depression—the God of all comfort will deal them out to you according as you have need of them!—Charles Spurgeon6
Several years ago, when I was very ill, recovering from a bout with cancer, Jesus told me that He had given me an “angel of comfort” to be with me during those difficult times. I never saw her face, but through many long days and lonely nights, when the pain was at its worst, I could feel her presence, like a tender mother, as though my head lay in her lap while she held me close and stroked my head. It was such a blessed feeling of peace, like a soft, warm aura that enveloped me. In spite of the pain, I found my heart filled with wonder and thankfulness for that special touch from heaven.
I am now certain of one thing: angels are not far from us, floating around on clouds in heaven. They are here, all around us, standing ready night and day to serve, aid, comfort, and protect us. I may not be able to see them, but I know they are near.
When I receive my heavenly crown someday, I will know that I didn’t earn it by myself; I was aided in my fight of faith by a “great cloud of witnesses,”7 the invisible armies of heaven. On that glorious day I will want to meet my angel of comfort who walked with me and lifted me up when I was weary. On that day, I will thank them face to face.—Misty Kay
One day your earthen frames will pass away, as will all the things of this earth. So take care to lift your eyes above the natural, above the trying circumstances and conditions surrounding you or your loved ones. Rest your eyes on Me, and you will find the comfort, grace, and faith you need.
As you look up, you’ll find that your perspective will change. What is truly important will come into focus, and that which is temporal will fade.
This is when you will have the ability and the fortitude to comfort others with the same comfort you have received. This is when you will have the kind of faith and trust that, though you or your loved ones are called to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil, because I will be with you. Your faith will be grounded firmly in Me.—Words from Jesus
Published on Anchor July 2021. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 John 9:3 NIV.
2 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NIV.
4 Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Crossway, 2006), 166.
6 Delivered by Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, UK, June 15, 1882.
7 Hebrews 12:1.