I was praying this morning and the Lord spoke these words in my heart: “Those that believe in Me are expected to get to know Me better as they walk the pilgrims pathway.” He said, “There are things they can learn only through suffering; and one of those things is that I am the God of all comfort!” I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings consolation to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil. But now my family and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the last seven months we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God. Listen to me carefully; the faith of the Christian should grow stronger in times of trial and trouble. Trials have a way of digging up the soil of our hearts and turning up weeds. That is good for us, for it is not in the sunshine but in the storm that we discover the depth of our need. Someone has said, “Great soldiers are not made in the barracks nor on the parade ground, but on the battlefield where the going is tough.” Trials provide opportunities for us to get to know God better. In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul assured the Christians that he was praying for them on a regular basis. Included in the list of things for which he prayed in 1:10 was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God. Paul knew that one of the secrets to a full and blessed life is getting to know God better. The primary source of the knowledge of God is His Word. The book of Proverbs 2:1 says, “My sons, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. . . . Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”As every student of the Bible knows, God does reveal Himself in His Word. We may discover God in other areas of life as well. Psalm 46 begins with the following words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” As we approach the end of the psalm, God is speaking and He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (verse 10). Times of trouble are very often times of silence. At least we are sure that days filled with suffering and sorrows give us the opportunity to be silent. These can be precious moments of quiet reflection when God speaks to us. If we do not set aside some time each day to be silent before God, then He has His own way of setting us aside. If we take advantage of these periods of quiet solitude, we too can increase in the knowledge of God. Yes, dear friends, our time of trouble can be for each of us a time of getting to know God better. In the lengthy but lovely 119th Psalm ha ha, David gave his personal testimony of something he learned about God when he was afflicted. In this one psalm, the word afflicted occurs four times (verses 67, 71, 75, 107), and the word affliction three times (verses. 50, 92, 153). In each of those seven verses, the psalmist spoke of himself and the affliction he suffered, but not once did he complain or find fault with God. This is neither the time nor the occasion to expound on all of these points, so let me briefly draw your attention to just two of them. In verse 71, the psalmist said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” He considered God's school of affliction to be a learning place. There he learned, among other lessons, that God has a purpose in sending affliction to His children. In his first use of the noun affliction, the psalmist said in verse 50, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word quickened me. As he sat silently before God in his affliction, he learned by personal experience that God is the God of all comfort. Comfort in affliction and adversity. That is the theme of this morning’s letter. To date, my family and I have spent ONE HUNDRED NINETY FIVE consecutive days in this trial. I knew full well that we were facing one of the severest trials in our lifetime. For 23 years I have been preaching and teaching the Word of God to others. Never once did I doubt the truths I was called of God to declare, but I must confess that I had never experienced much of what I preached and taught. But now God is giving me an opportunity to prove His Word to be gloriously and wondrously true! One of the key passages in 2 Corinthians is greatly needed today. As a matter of fact, there never has been a time when it was not needed. It is at once both timely and timeless. Let us look together at this brief portion of two verses: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.”Isn’t that a powerful statement? I believe when Paul spoke of the “God of all comfort” he was speaking of a knowledge of God that he himself had experienced. Undoubtedly he included himself in the plural word us in verse 4. I take this as his personal testimony that in all of his troubles and tribulations, he was comforted by God. That comfort did not merely enable him to endure his trials but also to receive special blessings from them. Paul's knowledge of God as the God of all comfort is therefore not a mere intellectual and academic one; it is a blessed and rewarding experience. He knows what he is talking about. In no way can my small trial be compared with the severity of Paul's many encounters with suffering.Linked with the description of God as the God of all comfort; is the statement that He is the Father of mercies. Mercy is the outward manifestation of compassion for others in their affliction. Mercy had its origin with God, who is called its Father. All acts of pity and compassion proceed from Him. God has a tender feeling of compassion for us when we are in distress. Our trials, however slight or severe, have His attention. David expressed it as follows In Psalm 103:13-14: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Always keep in mind, when we are being tested by adversity and affliction, compassion flows to us from His great loving heart. We never need to fear that His supply of mercy will run out, because He is rich in mercy!!!Friend, your heavenly Father does care, and He does comfort. Turn to Him and give Him the privilege of ministering to your need. You are His child, and He is there when you hurt.
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, you are Holy above all others and all of the strength that I need is in your hands. I am not asking, Lord, that you take this trial away. Instead, I simply ask that Your will be done in my life. Whatever that means, that is what I want. Sometimes I feel like I can’t go on. The pain and the fear are too much for me, and I know that I don’t have the strength on my own to get through this. Please, Lord, give me the strength that I need to face today. Help me to keep my eyes on You. You are the Holy Lord and All my hope rest in You. In Jesus Name, Amen!”
One Simple Nugget: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31