Pain Brings Us: The Grace to Comfort Others

Suffering through illness and pain on a daily basis can feel like endless and often senseless misery. It can feel hopeless when we have a chronic affliction where the dark tunnel of pain closing in seems to have no light at the end. When we must stop for breath while others walk on easily, we become discouraged and wonder to what end God decided to place this burden on our back instead of someone else’s. With every night kept up by pain, we find ourselves frustrated and wandering to thoughts that waver between self-pity and skepticism toward what God’s plan really is for us. These feelings can act as an indicator of our need for God. The more we doubt and feel abandoned by God, the more we need to call on Him in prayer. When we do this, we realize that He has not abandoned us, but rather His voice has been drowned out in the background as we have pushed Him away in these difficult times. He too suffered and knows what we are feeling, and He is here to comfort us if only we will accept His help. As we pray and lean on His love, learning what real comfort is, we find a gift in suffering. This gift is that we can share the comfort we have learned from Him, and become an extension of His loving arms. Our suffering is not purposeless or futile, and like the labor of birth, it may be painful but it yields beautiful and priceless gifts. Because our pain has allowed us to more fully understand what it is to comfort, we can become a servant of God in mercy, encouraging and loving those who, like us, need a gentle voice and a warm heart filled with His love.

“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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“‘Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth? Says the Lord; ‘shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?’ says your God.”  Isaiah 66:9