Monday, January 7, 2013

The Side Effects of Suffering-Comforting Others by Martin Wiles

Series: The Side Effects of Suffering

She developed as a tropical wave on October 22, 2012 in the western Caribbean Sea and quickly swirled into a tropical storm named Sandy. Seven short days later, she stepped ashore as a hurricane near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Caribbean along with the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern portions of the United States, killing 253 people along her seven country strut and inflicting 65.6 billion dollars in damage.

Yet in the midst of suffering came hope and comfort. Disaster relief units descended on New Jersey bringing shower/laundry units, mud out crews, counseling teams, chain saw crews, and feeding units. Churches responded with “Buckets of Care for New Jersey,” providing tools, first aid, and safety item supplies for storm victims. Comforters in South Carolina alone filled 466 buckets.

While the cause of our sufferings may escape us, one result never should. He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us (II Corinthians 1:4 NLT).

I’m certainly not an enthusiast of afflictions, but I’ve also learned the truth of the statement. Responding with “What are you teaching me God” instead of “God why are you allowing this” yields radically different responses. The first increases my sensitivity to what others are experiencing and sensitizes me to ways I can assist them. The second only makes me bitter, drives me farther from God, and causes me to waste unique opportunities to intervene in someone’s life. God’s comfort involves strength, encouragement, and hope to deal with our situations. Our comfort provides the same to others. Instead of blaming God and getting angry, learn from troubles so you can comfort others who are facing similar circumstances.

Prayer: God of all comfort, thank You for never leaving us in our times of trouble. May we be as near to others in their grueling times as You are to us.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, 'Responding with “What are you teaching me God” instead of “God why are you allowing this” yields radically different responses.' Sometimes the comforting we offer renews our old pain, but in that event it also renews and increases our own healing and strength.