The School of Pain
Sam Taufeek, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Although no one dares to apply to it, all believers have still been through this school at one level or another. The wisdom and grace of God permitted that our family would go through the pain of the departure of my only daughter at the age of fourteen-and-a-half and after battling cancer for about seventeen months. She is now enjoying the presence of her Redeemer whom she trusted for her salvation. Those who have to go through such an experience know the amount of associated pain, especially of the parents. All the saints around us tried their best to support and comfort us. Many would say that they can not even start to imagine what we were going through and a few would say, ‘We know what you are going through, we have been there’. Although I greatly appreciated the support of all, there was always a tender spot in our hearts for those who had experienced similar pain. It was easier to listen to them while sharing their thoughts. This experience helped me to understand better what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 3-6.
Let us examine these verses closely:
‘Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort’, 2 Cor. 1. 3. These are the attributes of God that we need to remember and dwell upon in our tribulation to draw patience and endurance.
‘Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God’, v. 4 [my emphasis]. Paul did see another dimension and a new purpose in his trouble. It is to teach him how to comfort others who are going through similar trouble. This is clear in verse 6.
‘And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation’, v. 6 [my emphasis]. But did Paul go through ‘all’ sorts of tribulation and was he capable or qualified to relate to ‘any trouble’? There is no doubt that Paul is speaking here in regard to the sufferings of the saints for the sake of Jesus’ name. ‘For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ’, v. 5. Paul experienced such afflictions and perhaps to a much higher magnitude, ‘in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft’, 11. 23.
But let us now ‘look unto Jesus’. Who, other than the Lord Jesus, could tell the believers, in His address to the seven churches in Revelation, ‘I know’? This is a very short statement that speaks volumes to us. What a comforting truth for every believer going through trouble! None but He ‘was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin’, Heb. 4. 15, also, ‘For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted’, Heb. 2. 18. I did not have any choice in my pain but I would like to continuously remind myself that the Lord Jesus had a choice but His love was greater than any pain He had to endure for us.
‘Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator’, 1 Pet. 4. 19. The word ‘commit’ carries the meaning, ‘to deposit in trust for protection’ or simply to trust. He is able to keep that which you have committed unto him against that day. He knows exactly what you are going through because He is ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ but, also, He knows how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. He told Hezekiah, ‘I have seen thy tears’, Isa. 38. 5, and in the days of His flesh was identified by strong crying and tears.
Finally, in the last chapter of the last book in the Bible we read, ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’, Rev. 21. 4. It is not uncommon to run out of words when facing a brother or a sister who is going through trouble we have never experienced. That’s the time when listening would be more effectual than speaking. Let us lift them up and commit them to the only One who can comfort them - the Man of Calvary!