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 may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4
Although we live in a world full of trials, troubles, and tribulations, we do not live in a world that only has trials, troubles, and tribulations. We live in a world where there is also the comfort of God. In the midst of the difficulties of life, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort sends us the comfort we need to help us go through everything that comes our way. Indeed, He sends us the comfort we need to overcome all these things.
People who have received the comfort of God in the midst of affliction are better able to be used by God as a source of comfort to others who are going through the same kind of affliction. There is little doubt that the best comforter is the one who has already been comforted by God in the relevant area of life. Such people know the comfort of God can help overcome Satan’s attempts to harm us and know how to help others in need to receive the comfort of God.
Like everyone else in this troubled world of ours, you have been going through various and sundry afflictions. The God of comfort, however, is preparing to send you the very thing you need to help you persevere and overcome.
Keep your eyes and ears open, then, for the comfort that is about to come your way.
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.— Hebrews 5:8-9
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith.” That is, from first to last He is the perfect example of how we should live our lives by faith. If we have any question as to how we should live our lives, then we should look to Jesus first of all as an example of what to do.
Interestingly enough, if we look to Jesus as revealed in our verse for today, what we learn from His example is that the model of our faith had to suffer. Jesus’ life was a life that included suffering and His suffering was not gratuitous. It had a purpose. Through His suffering Jesus learned obedience. He learned how to remain obedient to God even though He was suffering. He learned not to use suffering as an excuse to disobey God’s plan for His life. He learned how to stand fast in faith through it all and obey God.
Further, we learn from Jesus’ example that His obedience to God needed to be perfected. Jesus, of course, lived in sinless perfection. However, He still needed to go through the sufferings He went through in order to become ready for His great task in life. Every experience He had and every suffering He endured prepared Him for the cross.
If the author and finisher of our faith needed to learn obedience through suffering, then how much more do we who are mere followers of His example need to learn obedience through suffering? Perhaps we need to look at the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life in a new light. Instead of complaining about them, perhaps we should consider them valuable experiences that qualify us for the tasks God has planned for us. If we go through these trying times in faith and obedience, then we will be ready for what God has in store for us.
You are a work in progress. You are being perfected by suffering for the tasks God planned for you from all eternity. You are working on your advanced degree in the specialty God thinks you are best suited for. Stand fast in faith, then, and learn obedience from what you are going through.
Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The LORD comforts his people. He is good to his poor people.— Isaiah 49:13
There is always a reason to be happy. Although the people of God may go through trying times, there is always a reason for joy. We live in a creation controlled by the Lord and He is good. If the ultimate source and origin of all things is good, if the providential sustainer of all things is good, then there is no reason to allow sorrow and sadness to overtake and overwhelm our lives.
Although the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life still cause us problems, we can experience the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The heavens and the earth have good reason to be happy and the mountains have good reason to shout for joy.
You may be going through a lot of trouble right now, but there is still good reason to be happy. The Lord is comforting you and being good to you, despite everything that is going on. This comfort and goodness is merely a foretaste of the comfort and goodness that is yet to be revealed to you.
And if you go outside and listen closely, you may be able to hear the mountains in the distance shouting for joy about you.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.— Psalm 27:13
It was Jesus himself who said that ‘”In the world you will have tribulation”‘ (John 16:33) and it was the Apostle Paul himself who said that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). We should not be surprised, then, if we encounter these things in life. Nevertheless, we should not ask God for tribulations and we should not believe God for persecutions.
And since we live in a world full of trials, troubles, and tribulations, we should look to the Lord in faith for victory despite the evil. Although Jesus told us that in the world we would have tribulations, He also told us to ‘”be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”‘ (John 16:33). In Christ we are overcomers and we should put our faith to work by expecting to overcome.
Today, then, do not lose heart and give up. Instead, expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect to see good things come from the Lord.