“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
Jesus is with us in our suffering. He knows exactly how we feel and you know what? He suffers and cries with us! He comforts us and wipes away our tears (Hebrews 4:15, Revelation 21:4). Isn’t it beautiful to remember this especially in our trials?
However, He has the power to heal and to calm every storm of life. Do you feel desperate today? Are you wondering if there’s any hope for you? I want to encourage you: there is!
“God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
~ 1. Corinthians 10:13
Do you believe that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond you are able? You might doubt this verse and feel like you’re already carrying too much. To be honest, I doubted these words as well. I didn’t feel able to endure all the pain anymore. My cup of suffering seemed to flow over and deep in my heart there were lies that told me: are you sure that Jesus has a perfect plan for you? Look at your life! Do you really think that God still cares for you? That He loves you? That He is good? Remember all your tears, all the moments you felt so weak that you didn’t know how to bear it any longer.
Amongst others, God used a sermon by Mark Dever to encourage me:
“We do not know everything God is up to in our lives. We’re in no position to judge God and His ways with us on a basis of what’s happened today. We can’t stop Him in the middle and condemn Him. The end hasn’t come. Our God is careful, even economical with pain. He knows how to use our suffering and trials to cut out those things from our hearts that should not be there, and to cause us precisely rely on Him in a way we did not rely before, and to find that He is fully and always sufficient. He is in fact enough! How can we doubt His goodness when we look at our lives and our trials through the cross? He is good! He is enough! He will give us strength to endure the difficulties He calls us to.”
~Ruth: God’s Providence in a Single Woman’s Life, Mark Dever
How can we doubt His goodness if we remember what Jesus has done for us? How can we doubt His love if we look at the cross? He gave His life for us, although we were His enemies. We did not ask for forgiveness. We did not ask for redemption. Instead, we crucified Him and every sin bore the nails deeper into His hands and feets. But He endured all the pain in silence like a lamb being brought to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7). What He did was pray for us: “Father, forgive them; for they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34).
Do you really think that God doesn’t love you? Do you think that He doesn’t want the best for you? That you can’t rely on Him? Jesus doesn’t call you to endure suffering to harm you, but He wants to help you, and to heal your heart from everything that seperates you from His love; everything that is more important to you than God. He wants us to trust in Him alone.
The end hasn’t come. God will continue His good work in us, and He uses the difficulties that we have to face right now in order to draw a perfect picture of our lives. There might be some brush strokes that doesn’t seem to make sense, because we can’t see the outcome yet. But God knows exactly what He does, and we can trust Him that the picture will be more beautiful than we could ever ask for.
Praising Jesus in the storm?
How we act in tough times has an impact on the people around us. Jesus is worthy of our praise! I know, we sometimes do not feel able to worship God. We just want to hide our sadness behind a smile. We have learned to wear a mask in front of other people, but we can’t lie to Jesus. He sees our hearts. He sees our tears, our pain, our fears. And He understands. If we rely on Him, we shine bright for Jesus. We are able to encourage our fellow men, because we know exactly how they feel, and we can comfort them 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).