True comfort

WHAT DO YOU do when you’re uncomfortable? Maybe you cozy up to someone or find a comfy chair. Some like a warm drink to give them calm. We seek the sun in winter and the shade in summer. But what if an ongoing health problem causes discomfort? Or perhaps you’re in a personal struggle that’s been haunting you for years. Or maybe your relationship with someone is strained. What do you do in those uncomfortable situations?

During these trials, someone might come along and say, “You just have to pray more. You need more faith.” But it’s not so easy is it? So when things look bad, how do you stay faithful?

First of all, don’t beat yourself up. It’s normal to not feel cheerful when facing a tough situation, no matter how much faith you have. If you put on a false smile all the time, it might be worse. Denying our problems does not solve them.

Still, we have to be careful not to fall into the opposite trap either, that is, placing our problems at the center of everything. But when you have a sore tooth, that’s all you can think about, right? Or is it? Is there any useful purpose to suffering? Maybe there is.

If your hurt makes you more compassionate to others, that’s a good thing. If hardship makes you more thankful for the blessings in your life, that’s positive. If your shame makes you more humble, then so be it. And if your struggle leads you to seek God more? Isn’t that good?

Some may say God is cruel and unfair for letting people suffer. But that line of thinking never gets you anywhere. It only makes you feel worse. If you go down that rabbit hole, you can end up bitter and resentful. Your faith withers. Some even lose their faith since they are so angry at God.

Still, others might say, “I don’t want a perfect life. Just take away the big hurt, the deep pain. Can’t God do that at least for me?” I don’t have the answer to this question, but I do know this: if God removed suffering, then things like mercy, patience, and compassion would cease to exist. There would be no need for me to be kind since everyone would be fine. The company of others would hold less value, since I would never miss anyone. Maybe even love would disappear.

Any type of need is a kind of suffering, isn’t it? When I’m hungry or thirsty, I suffer since I need food or water. When I’m cold, I need warmth. If any need is universal, it’s the need for love. And God gives us the freedom to give it or hold it back.

Yes, some sink into a very dark place due to deep suffering. Meanwhile, others transform their hurt into great compassion and service to others. Only those that suffer can truly identify with and comfort someone else who suffers in a similar way.

And here we find a miracle — great pain transformed into life giving love. It’s like the Resurrection.

Our Lord did not shield himself from any of it. He felt the full force of betrayal, injustice, physical pain, and abandonment. He knows how it feels. And he is there by your side through it all. He never leaves you. You are not alone.

And yes, miraculous healings happen. You can be set free from your demons. People and situations can change dramatically. If you choose to believe this, you know there is something beyond the pain. You know your suffering isn’t your entire story. There is so much more.

Somehow, at some point, you know there is new life — and hope remains. And with hope, perseverance thrives. Strength arises from deep within you.

So immerse yourself in the Lord’s company and compassion. This does not deny your hurt, not at all. Instead, it fully recognizes it. Yes. You hurt. There is no denying it. God sees it. And he sends his Son to you as he knows you are hurting. He goes the distance with you, with absolutely nothing held back. You don’t have to do anything special. Just know he is there for you.

Do not be afraid to let him into your heart. Do no be afraid to trust him. 

And in belief, your soul will find rest. You know, despite the hurt, your Creator does not ignore you. He is fully aware of your pain. So he gives his Son, Jesus, to you. And in him, there is no greater love.

. . . . . . .

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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