The Suffering of the Righteous
When we are suffering, it is common nature for us to ask, “Why?” (Psalm 73). “Why is this happening?” “Why won’t it go away?” “Why did God allow this to happen to me?” Sadder even are those who, on such occasions, blame God and turn their backs on Him and walk away. Paul gives some great advice and perspective in the beginning of 2 Corinthians concerning our attitude toward suffering.
First of all, he says that when we suffer and are comforted by God then we are able to comfort others who are suffering (1:4). It is important to remember that living Christian lives is predicated upon our emptying of ourselves (Matthew 16:24) and serving others (Matthew 25:31–46). He wanted the Christians at Corinth to comfort the man who had repented and confirm their love toward him (2:7–8).
Secondly, we gain strength through our ministry, for God and toward others, to “faint not” (4:1).
Thirdly, the greatest comfort comes through the ministry of preaching and sharing the gospel of Jesus and while doing so Paul says, “We are troubled…but not distressed…perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (4:7–9).
Considering all that Paul had been through it is amazing that all was but “light affliction,” but that it worked for “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (4:17). How are you using your suffering to serve God and others?