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Are you in need of comfort? Has life been beating you up lately? Have you been through tough trials and challenges? If so, you could probably use an encouraging word.
For some reason, many of my friends have been enduring severe trials lately. Sometimes, the difficulties we go through are self-imposed—the result of wrong decisions or stubbornness on our part. But often, as with my friends, the ordeals simply come upon us unbidden, for no apparent reason. Nobody is to blame; the challenges just hit us full force, like waves driven by a storm. In these kinds of times, we can turn to the
God of all comfort.
The Loss is Real
I have been re-reading one of my favorite C. S. Lewis books:
, which is the second in his space trilogy. The story itself is fascinating and wonderfully written—a brilliant allegory, which is actually a profound treatise on the themes of original sin and spiritual warfare. Here is one particular quote which applies to the subject of this letter: “God can make good use of all that happens; but the loss is real.”
Undoubtedly, the Lord uses the suffering and trials we experience in life for redemptive purposes. Even so, here’s the bottom line: it hurts to go through them, and the setbacks we incur are not imaginary. As C. S. Lewis says, “The loss is real.”
Sometimes we are left to wonder, “Lord, what good can possibly come from what I just went through?” The refining fire brings pain as it burns off our impurities, and we don’t always understand why we must face such blazing heat. But our God is a redemptive God.
Putting Our Pain to Work
One of the friends I was talking with recently had a very mature attitude concerning the traumatic experiences she had endured. She said, “I think I went through it so I could be of help to other people going through the same kind of experience.” I commended her for her marvelous perspective and shared a personal discovery I had made.
Early on, when I was struggling with the issue of why God takes us through hard times, I really didn’t have a satisfactory explanation. Then I came upon a Scripture that helped and encouraged me all at the same time: 2 Corinthians 1:3–4: “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.”
All of a sudden, I had my answer. Our pain, and the comfort God supplies to get us through it, is for a purpose. What’s the reason? “That we may be able to comfort.” After our ordeal, we can give authentic encouragement to others facing a similar trial—because we have already gone through it ourselves. I don’t know about you, but when I need solace and advice, I rarely turn to the person with a string of unbroken successes. I want to talk with someone who has been through the wringer and come out successfully on the other side.
Restoring What Is Lost
Let’s get back to that C. S. Lewis statement: “The loss is real.” This is the sobering reality you and I often experience. It’s real, and it hurts.
However, the overriding truth is that God is able to restore. In 1 Samuel 30, everything belonging to David and his men was stolen from their camp at Ziklag. However, we see the redemptive outcome in verses 18 and 19: “So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away…And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all.”
God’s restorative power is referenced again in Joel 2:25, where He promises: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten….” Have you had years of your life eaten up by frustration, loss, and failure? God is able to restore, not only what we lose, but even the time it has taken us to lose it. There is no guarantee He will—but He can.
The one promise we have for sure is that He will supply the comfort we need to get through the event and later to encourage others. Why? Because He is the
God of all comfort.
The Comfort We Need
Our dear friend and mentor, Derek Prince, knew what it was to suffer loss and then receive comfort from the Lord. He speaks about this in a radio series on a rather unexpected topic: “Victory over Death, Part 3,” from which we have drawn this excerpt:
My fifth piece of counsel [in facing the death of a loved one] is this: lean on the Body. Lean on your fellow believers. In 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (NASB), Paul says, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
We need comfort from our fellow believers. One blessing I will never forget was the love shown me by countless members of my fellowship when my wife was taken home. It is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Also, it made a tremendous impact upon others round about.
I look back and thank God that I was part of a committed group of believers who stood by me. Believe me, friend, when that hour comes, you’re going to need people to comfort you. Isn’t it beautiful that the Scripture calls God, “The God of all comfort”? But He often comforts us through our fellow believers.
Healing the Wounds
Let me ask you again: Are you in need of comfort? The Lord knows what you have been through, and He is the best One to bring the comfort you need. Let’s ask Him now:
Father, I know You are aware of all I have been facing and that You will use it in a redemptive way in my life. I’m asking now for Your comfort. Thank You for providing it and for Your faithfulness to move me forward in Your purposes, even when that process is a painful one.
I know there is a bigger plan beyond what I see from my vantage point. But right now, Lord, I need a word of comfort. Soothe my heart and calm my soul. Place Your healing hand on the wounds I have received and mend them.
I also ask, as part of Your restorative process, that You will enable me to share the lessons learned from these trials in ways that will strengthen others. Help me to comfort with the same comfort I have received from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
As God continues to answer the prayer you and I just lifted before Him, we will probably have many chances to help others. Let’s keep our eyes open to such opportunities!
If it would be helpful for you to contact DPM for some further encouragement, please feel free to do so. We are here for you! Your gifts and prayers are a great blessing to us, bringing with them a special dimension of God’s comfort and encouragement for us as well. Thank you for caring.
Sharing His Comfort
I trust you have drawn uplifting strength from this letter. Don’t be discouraged at the trials you have been facing. They will ultimately open your heart to the comfort God wants to provide for you. Receive it with deep gratitude from the One who loves you so very much.
Now, it’s our turn to share. We are surrounded by people in our society who have been ripped up by life. Let’s look for opportunities to reach out to those around us with all that we have so generously received—the comfort which has come to us from the
God of all comfort.
All the best,