“Praise be to… God… the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.”2 Corinthians 1:3-4
A widow can understand the challenges of another woman whose husband has recently passed away. Someone who has lost a loved one to a long battle with cancer knows the difficulties of another family facing that terrible disease. Since my stroke, I have seen my wife, who herself has suffered, encourage spouses and caregivers of traumatic brain injury survivors—once after seeing a stroke survivor attempting to walk along the edge of a busy road. Throughout our journey of loss, my children also have been a blessing to others experiencing suffering of many kinds.
It turns out that often the agonies we have faced are the prerequisites to our helping someone else in their suffering. Have you felt that nothing good could come from your suffering? Have you felt alone in your pit of despair? Paul directs us to the truth that as God helps us through our darkest times, He is uniquely equipping us to help fellow sufferers.
God is teaching you. Your suffering is the prerequisite you need so that you can minister to others.
You can trust Him as your education in the school of suffering drags on because Jesus has passed the final test for you!