Suffering is a reality for everyone on this earth, including believers. To deny that, is to deny reality of the fact that we live in a fallen world and Christians are not exempt from the results of it. Remember, the Apostles suffered greatly and many of them died horrendous deaths as martyrs. But it was all for God’s glory and a part of His sovereign plan for their lives.
We must remember that Christ is with us in the mist of our trial to bring us through it with perseverance. Not all people have this access to Christ’s comforts, only those who have repented of their sins and trusted in Christ’s righteousness alone (Ephesians 1:6). When our heart is agitated, this is the “pillow treatment” in which we can rest our heart and receive God’s overwhelming love (Psalm 34:8). In addition to having the nearness of Christ when we are suffering, as believers, we have also been given the gift of the Church. The Church should be carriers of God’s love- extending counsel, fellowship, humility, and service towards one another.
The Apostle Paul encourages the Philippian church to be in unity and of one mind, sharing the love of Christ, which brings comfort. This is a wonderful reminder to us today as well:
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2, ESV).
The graces found in Christ fuels our humility that generates unity.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
God will use all things to conform us to the image of Christ and often in the life of the believer that includes pain and suffering, but we do not have to suffer alone. We can find comfort in the riches of Christ, and He often uses the family of God to bring His love and peace into our situations. Have trials in your life embittered you and caused you build up walls around your heart to keep you from being vulnerable and transparent with God and with others? We need to be honest about our insecurities and pain so that we can receive Christ’s comfort and encouragement. Through this vulnerability with others, God gives us wisdom to show us who to specifically speak to about our hurts, frustrations, confusion, and deep sorrow. Let us tear down the walls of privacy and pride to receive the Lord’s tender mercies and rich grace. Who do you need to share God’s affection and sympathy with? The greatest way to do this is sharing the truth that Christ died so that others may live- the Gospel. We must remind our hearts and share with others that our faith in Him means that because of the cross, we are forgiven and now we can have the hope that He never leaves our side and walks with us through the valley and the mountain top experiences, and we have the ultimate hope that there is a glorious eternal life that awaits us in Christ Jesus. Oh, what comfort we can find in Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:14-15