“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.” – 2 Corinthians 1:6
Your greatest impact will come from your greatest struggles. What do I mean? God never wastes a hurt. Instead, God uses the pain and struggles we face in life to point us back to Him, to strengthen us, to grow us – and yes, to comfort others.
Whenever I’m struggling or going through a tough time, I want to hear from someone who has walked in my shoes. It’s the “been there and survived that” perspective that I so desperately need. You see, it’s stories of God’s provision, comfort, and presence at life’s lowest moments that become powerful testimonies in the lives of others.
In Romans 12: 15-16, Paul puts it this way: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Looking at all the pain and brokenness in the world, how badly do we need to see this verse in action? But, is this even possible? With so many opinions, agendas, and needs to choose from, how do we live out the words of Romans 12?
We live from the overflow. We remember what God did during our time of need and do likewise. Meaning, we offer grace and forgiveness instead of judgment, love instead of condemnation, patience instead of frustration, understanding instead of condemnation. We live from the overflow of what we’ve experienced first-hand.
In the end, it all comes back to the Gospel. It’s about what God has done for us that we could never do ourselves; it’s about the incredible freedom found in Christ Jesus. And it’s out of this freedom that we can be used by God to point others to experience the same comfort and salvation that we first encountered in our time of need.
Adapted from a sermon by Senior Pastor, George Wright
Shandon Baptist Church, SC