MOTTO: Suffering can make you better or it can make you bitter.
Remember our goal of transformation through suffering! “Transforming Suffering” looks at how suffering can raise us to a new level of awareness, thinking, compassion, understanding, spirituality and most importantly LOVE. Or, we can choose to sink into bitterness, anger, resentment and depression. But how? How do we do this choosing when everything looks so very, very bleak? But today we see how God is working. There us nothing in the world more powerful in our lives than to see God workng,msgether its in our lives or someone else. It lifts us up and out of ourselves and our problems and suffering.
Let’s explore one of the “Prayers of Paul” and see if we can unwrap this.
2 Corinthians 1:3–7
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
HOW TO CHOOSE TO BE BETTER AND NOT BITTER
Look outside yourself –
It is so easy to focus only on what us happening to us in the now. The problem with suffering us… it hurts. It grabs our attention and seemingly won’t let go.
Look to God 1st –
Praise Him. I know. l know. It’s hard. what is there to praise? It’s right there in the verse. He is our Father! That’s family. You are His precious child. He can’t wait to help you. Praise Him for being your heavenly Father. Then look! He is a Father of compassion and all comfort. That word ALL means He’s got your back. He’s got you covered. He can comfort you in ALL situations. He can help you look toward Him and outside of your suffering.Can you see that? He comforts us in ALL our troubles, whatever they are. Now that’s something to praise Him for. Just a note about praise, it actually changes your body chemistry raising your sarotonin levels and other helpful chemicals.A very transformational
Look to Comfort other People –
KEY WORDS – “. . . so that”
We could say for the reason that or because but the best word is purpose. As human beings we crave purpose and meaning in our lives. I am in three polymyositis support groups. There are not enough words to tell you how critical they are to my well being. I can’t do this alone. They can’t do it alone either. We need each other. And, you need other people to help you and, even more importantly people you can help. How do we do this helping? Where does the strength come from?
“…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from Him.”. It comes from the comfort we already received by looking to God first to get relief and change our perspective. We can’t get the order wrong here. Otherwise we will be adding other people’s suffering to our own without lifting them to God for help and comfort.
Talk to Jesus – When I was growing up we used to sing a wonderful little chorus called “Let’s Have A Little Talk With Jesus.”.
So let us have a little talk with Jesus
Let us tell Him all about our sorrows
He will hear our faintest
And He will answer by and by
So when you feel a little prayer wheel turing
And you know a little fire is burning
You know a little talk with Jesus and makes it right
Niw that should help us with the next verse “…For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
Jesus is our contact point in suffering. He suffered horribly. Not just in the cross, He suffered the loss of family, friends, betrayal, financial hardship, and I could go in and on.
HIs best friend, the Apostle John, wrote “… That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched.” See. . . contact. John 1:2
The writer of the book of The book of Hebews says “…For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15
We approach the throne of God through our friend, our brother, our companion -JESUS. Just like human children view their fathers with love, awe, respect, and sometimes fear, we can have those same feelings toward our Heavenly Father. He can seem unapproachable. Jesus IS APPROACHABLE! He walked and talked and ate and slept and laughed and lived on this earth just like us. That. . .is how we share in His sufferings – the same way He shared in ours.
It us a good meditation exercise to sit quietly and focus on the suffering of Jesus. Let your mind focus on the cross. That’s where the victory over suffering was won, both now and in the future.
Verses 6 & 7: “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
Comforting other people means sharing in their suffering taking it on yourself in compassion, empathy and understanding, then lifting them up to our Father in prayer. That’s what Jesus did on the cross. He took our suffering on himself, lock, stock and barrel, right down to the ultimate cause of suffering and defeated it through death. Then turned the physics if the universe inside out by the perfection of his human body and coming back to life through the his resurrection from death. Whew! That is a chunk to chew on.
Here’s a short, practical prayer that fits right in: Heavenly Father, I offer my suffering to you in union with Jesus and his purpose for __________. (put a name in the blank) This is wonderful if you have a prayer list of people to pray for.
Jesus not only identified with us, He fixed us. In the short term he helps us look to Him for comfort in suffering. In the long term we will live eternally with him in his home in heaven.
If you are not a follower of Jesus, it’s easy. Just believe what he’s done for you and accept him into your life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, prayer needs, or just receive help and hope from this page. Yiou can use the comments section below or contact me on Facebook.