2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Suffering Comfortably

In Christ

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

During the second occurrence of my first wife's cancer, I learned some valuable things about the nature of suffering. As per her first go-round of chemo-therapy, the nurses went to great lengths to make my wife as comfortable as possible during her treatments. They provided nice reclining couches, soft music, blankets, and whatever snacks my wife might request in advance of her treatment. One afternoon, it became clear that young lady was experiencing her first round of chemo and she was obviously scared and sick. She was crying and moaning and creating a great deal of uneasiness among the other patients. Without hesitation, my wife left her comfortable position and sat down next to the lady, speaking softly and encouragingly to her throughout her treatment. During the experience she never stopped stroking her arm. Suddenly the oxymoron, “suffering comfortably,” made sense. Though the disease eventually took her life, I never ceased to be amazed at her ability to comfort others in a way to ease suffering because she herself found comfort in the same suffering.

It is obvious that Christians throughout history have struggled with Paul's phrase, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” carrying the realization that for all us suffering seems to be a byproduct of our commitment to Christ. Though most of us never achieve this level of spirituality a few believers manage to see the path of suffering comfortably. The very course of their suffering places them on another spiritual plane as they, who have suffered the most, know how to encouragers others who are suffering as well.