God brings different seasons in our lives to teach us different lessons. There are times of joy, plentifulness and happiness and there are also times of difficulty and trials where our most immediate cry is almost”Lord, how long?”
This is an excerpt from an article of a man who learnt of the comfort that only comes from the God of all comfort when he and his family went through a very tough time:
I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings solace to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil.
But now my wife and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the months since Elsie’s stroke, we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God…
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 was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). 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 says, My son, 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 (Proverbs 2:1, 5). 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 (v. 10). Times of trouble are very often times of silence. At least we are sure that days filled with suffering and sorrow 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.
To explain a little more…
Comfort in affliction and adversity. That is the theme of this meditation. Three months after Elsie was afflicted with her stroke, neither her brain nor her body was functioning normally. The stroke has left her with brain impairment, and with paralysis on the left side of her body. She also has other problems: impaired vision, change in the pitch of her voice, and excessive fatigue are just a few of the side effects.
After spending seventy-seven consecutive days with Elsie in the hospital room, I knew full well that we were facing the severest trial in our fifty-one years of marriage. For forty-five of those years, I had 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 was 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:
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. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When Paul spoke of the God of all comfort, he was speaking of a knowledge of God that he himself had experienced….In no way can my small trial be compared with the severity of Paul’s many encounters with suffering. But I have prayed that the Holy Spirit will use this meditation as a testimony to the effectiveness of those Scriptures in our lives since Elsie had her stroke. The God of all comfort has been sustaining and strengthening us day by day. He has relieved the painful pressures so that we are able to bear them without losing heart.
Excerpt from God of all comfort. by Lehman Strauss