Handling Suffering – The Assurance of Comfort - Saturday, July 7th

Handling Suffering – The Assurance of Comfort - Saturday, July 7th

(This week’s Devotionals run Monday through Saturday)

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 affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Today’s Scripture is all about comfort. To help us with today’s considerations there are two questions we need to ask ourselves: What is it that most frequently creates in us a need for comfort? What is it that we most frequently turn to as a source of comfort. Common answers to the first question: difficult relationships, health issues, financial woes, moral challenges, employment stress, grief over the death of a loved one, etc. Common answers to second question: things that numb our pain, like alcohol, medications, illegal drugs, etc.; things that offset our pain, like comfort foods, sexual activity, recreation and sports, things of beauty (nature, art, music), reading, electronics (TV, games, social media), etc.

There are two things from today’s passage that can make a huge difference in our lives in regard to comfort management. First, God needs to be our primary source of comfort. Second, the sufferings of Christ need to be central in our lives. Remember, the Christian life is all about our existing for God and what he wants and not him existing for us and what we want. So much of our pain and suffering comes from not getting this settled in our lives. When we get this settled, we are on the path of learning to live fully for God. When we are seeking to live fully for God, we will be actively involved in the cause of Christ and therefore regularly engaged with others in open and honest ways regarding our faith in Christ.

Involvement in the cause of Christ brings the sufferings of Christ. Our passage says, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” Yes, our comfort is abundant when we suffer for the cause of Christ. This is the training ground in which we learn to live in ways that allow God to be the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.” God cares about all our suffering. It is those who become practiced at being comforted by him when they share in the sufferings of Christ (because they are involved in the cause of Christ – sharing Christ with others) who are best able to turn from substitute forms of comfort and receive God’s comfort in all the other areas of suffering that are theirs.

Thankfully, God is merciful and he seeks to comfort us in what we go through in life even when we are living more for ourselves than him and things are not quite as orderly as we have talked about in today’s devotional. God’s Word says, “Cast all your care on Him for He cares for you” and “Cast your burdens on the Lord and he will sustain you.” Come to him right where you are, with all that you are, to receive all that he is, for all that you truly need in your life today.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, here I am. I come to you. There is a lot of pain and suffering in my life and I need relief. I don’t know how to sort it all out, but I know you can. I really want to live fully for you and the cause of Christ. Please deliver me from all substitute sources of comfort and grant me your abundant comfort today. Amen!

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