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Our Hardships Are Sometimes Someone Else's Comfort
by Brian Price 5/20/2012

"3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 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." - 2 Corinthians 2:3-4

Yesterday, I went on visitation with my church. We went out into the community to tell others about Jesus and to invite them to our church. We were not out there trying to sell bibles, or asking for people to give their money to us, nor were we trying to deceive people into believing a false gospel. No. We went door to door to simply tell others about the love of Jesus.

Well, while out, I was able to have a conversation with a dear brother of mine when we returned to the church. This precious saint told me of an experience of his that he had years ago. He lost his leg years ago due to a motorcycle accident. And in the hospital, as he was there recovering, the nurse asked him to speak to someone there who also lost his leg. The man was angry at God, and cursing. My brother then proceeded to speak to him about Jesus, and the man replied, "You don't have any idea what I am going through." My brother replied, "Oh, really?" He then lifted up his leg that was missing.

Sometimes we suffer hardships to comfort others.

We sometimes wonder why we go through things. But often we go through hardships to comfort someone else who may be going through the same thing. Notice that Paul said that God "...comforts 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." - Verse 2.

You never know who may need your comforting words. Sometimes, no one knows your pain like someone who has been there before. For me, I found great comfort during my divorce in knowing others went through the same thing. Those who came out victorious on the other side inspired me to get through it too. There were some days where I didn't think I was going to make it.

I looked at life sometimes like it was meaningless, empty, and that no one cared. When at these times, I found comfort in reading testimonies of restored marriages. One lady, Judy Rousseau, was a comfort to me. She supposedly had been separated from her husband for about 3 years. She never gave up on him, and continued to pray for him.

Eventually, the man's heart gave in to God's voice, and he returned to her, and repented of his sins against their marriage.

For me, I kept up the fight for 4 agonizing years praying for my wife. At times, I wanted to quit. But the Lord would urge me to keep going. Keep praying. Don't give up. I wondered why. Of course I knew why I should keep praying for our restoration. It was because God hates divorce. He created marriage. Man created divorce.

She never did return. But during those dark hours, I held onto the promise of God that he gave to me. He gave me Psalms 128 on one warm sunny summer day.

It says:

"1 Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.

2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.

5 The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life." - Psalms 128:1-5

I knew that somehow, in some way, God was going to uphold this promise to me. At times, I was so discouraged I could hardly walk, but God would always remind me of this verse, and today, I am happily remarried with a wonderful Christian wife and a beautiful daughter.

Perhaps, you are going through something totally unrelated to what I went through. Perhaps you are waiting on that child of promise. The Bible says of Abraham:

"20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform." - Romans 4:20-21

You may have lost a child. You may wonder why. Why did God take my child? Why did he take my only son?

But remember what happened to Abraham. In Genesis, it says that Abraham had sent Hagar and his firstborn son, Ishmael, away. It says that God told Abraham that in Isaac shall his seed by called. God made a very clear promise to Abraham in regards to Isaac. Isaac had to live in order for this promise to be fulfilled. Abraham knew that, and the Bible says that Abraham trusted God to the point that God, if he needed to, would raise up Isaac from the dead (Hebrews chapter 11).

But God tested Abraham, and told him to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering to God. He was tested to give back his now, his only son, his only son whom he loved very dearly. He lost his firstborn son, Ishmael. Now he was tested to give back his second son, who now was his only son.

But remember what the end of the story was. God stopped Abraham from hurting the child, and Isaac grew up to bury his father Abraham. Isaac DID live. And God DID fulfill his promise to Abraham.

This hardship that Abraham went through has now been a comfort to millions of people the world over. At the time he could not see why God would want to take back the children he gave to Abraham, but now, I am sure he is watching from heaven, and he realizes why.

I have never lost a child before. But I have lost a wife. And I can tell you that God has been faithful to me. He has been very good to me. He has kept his promise to me. My hardship was not in vain. My brother from church did not lose his leg in vain. Abraham's hardship was not in vain. Job's hardship was not in vain when he lost everything. He was a very rich man who became very poor through hardships. Moses had to flee Egypt, and leave the house of Pharaoh, the household in which he was raised. Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers. Peter was put in prison. Paul was stoned. Daniel was thrown into the lions den.

But in every single case of all of these men, God worked it all out for good.

Christians throughout the centuries have been martyred by the fire of the Roman Catholic Church. Slain by the sword of kings. Betrayed by their friends, given up to death by their parents, and slandered by their own children. But every one of these were crowned with eternal life, which the Lord has promised to give to those who love him.

"36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." - Hebrews 11:36-40

Not one saint will the Lord allow to have his end be worse than his beginning. It will always be better for him at the latter end than in his beginning. Even if that end is death. Even if that means we must be brought before a king and to be condemned to death for a crime we did not commit. God loves us. And our tribulations and hardships will only serve to benefit someone else.

Noah, one of God's most well-favored saints of all time, never saw a convert. Yet, he saw the salvation of his own household. His preaching was not in vain. His walk with God did not serve a meaningless purpose. His seed inherited the earth. And we know that by his faith in God, he overcame the entire world.

"Temptations, hidden snares, often take us unawares, and our hearts are made to bleed for a thoughtless word or deed; and we wonder why the test when we try to do our best, but we'll understand it better by and by." - We'll Understand It Better By and By, http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh525.sht

Our hardships are sometimes someone else's comfort. We may not understand the purpose now, but we'll understand it later. We may not agree with the way things turn out, but we know that "...all things work together for good to them that love God." - Romans 8:28

If You Died Today, Would You Go To Heaven?