Sharing in Christ's Sufferings

woman suffering, bent over in empty room
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings,
 so through Christ, we share abundantly in comfort. 
2 Corinthians 1:5


As I read this verse again I recall many memories of when God used my sufferings to comfort someone else. I was 29 when my first husband left me with our three children to care for because of his overpowering drug addiction. Remembering those days and months and years are painful, even now after nine years have passed. Along with those painful memories comes the healing and relief I found when comforting others in their pain in Christ’s name.


There was a woman I wanted to be friends with at church, but I was intimidated by her. One night I spoke at a women’s bible study and felt God leading me to speak with her. Nervously, I walked up to her and asked how she was doing. We began to talk easily and soon formed a friendship that has lasted for over six years. We share in each other’s triumphs and heartbreaks and have been there when the unthinkable has happened. 


God used the Holy Spirit to break through my anxiety and bless me with a relationship I never saw coming.  


As we look at our main verse again we can see how God calls us to share in Jesus’ sufferings, so we can relate to others when they are going through tribulation.


Why does God use suffering this way? 


God designed us to be in community. Without relationships with other people, we are destined to a life of isolation and selfishness. It’s when we invite others into our vulnerable places that we can connect with them in the way Jesus connected to those around him.


Our Lord is sovereign over our sufferings. As we follow in Jesus’ footsteps we share in the sufferings he endured and carry those with us to others who are hurting. God is not using this pain to harm us, but to teach us and humble us is a way we practice humility. 


After all, it is through humility that we find strength and comfort. Jesus wept when he faced Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). He was deeply moved when the paralytic was brought to him by his friends who had faith that Jesus would produce a miracle (Matthew 9:2). 


Jesus had feelings and relationships just like we do. We can learn from his compassionate heart and comfort those around us with a kind word and a gentle spirit. 


We can rejoice in our sufferings because they help us know Jesus and the power of his resurrection more than if we lived a life where we did not feel this sting of abandonment, disappointment, heartache, and many other things Satan tries to use to break us. As believers, we know we are more than conquerors through God who loves us (Romans 8:37). He uses what is meant for evil to make all things good (Genesis 50:20).


Praise God!  


Digging Deeper: How has God used your sufferings to comfort those around you? Share your story in the comments below.

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