Suffering: God Does More than Sit and Cry With Us

When we’re going through some sort of trial or crisis it often feels better just to know someone cares.  That someone may not be able to understand your situation if they haven’t experienced it themselves, but they care, and that can go a long way toward giving you comfort.  That someone may not be able to do anything at all to change your situation, but they care and that can do a lot to help you change your perspective.  When people care, sometimes all they are able to do is sit and cry with you, but for those of us who have been on the receiving side of a weeping partner, we know that their care has done more for us than they realize.

There may be some Christians reading this right now who are thinking, “I would love to have someone to sit and cry with me as I struggle through this dark time.”  If that’s you, then I truly wish that for you as well, but before you allow yourself to despair, remember that God cares for you like no other.  Not only is Jesus our high priest who can sympathize with all of our weaknesses, but Psalm 103:13 tells us, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”  God is compassionate toward us, but he is compassionate as a perfect Father, not an earthly father who is subject to his sinful heart and the influence of this corrupt world.

This care from the Lord is a soul-soothing reality for everyone who trusts in him.  For those suffering, God’s compassion is a spiritual feast in a time of famine, but there’s more.  God can do more than sit and cry with you.  Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 2:18 says, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  God cares and he is able to help us.  Jesus’ suffering makes him especially qualified to help us in our suffering.  But there’s more.  Because God loves us, because he is sovereign, because he is all-good, and because he is all-wise, He is not only able to help us in our suffering, he is actually helping us by using our suffering.  It may not be the kind of help you want (i.e. removing the suffering, changing the circumstances), but God, through our suffering, is helping us with the most important part of us: the heart.  He is working all things together for our good so that we will become more like Christ (Romans 8:28). In the end, as we stand before our God in the full array of his glory, we will fully appreciate this help even if we don’t right now.

Take this with you today, Church: God cares for you in your suffering, God is able to help you in your suffering, and God is helping you in your suffering.  Praise him!

*Thanks to Stephen Altrogge for his chapter titled “The Furnace of Suffering” from his book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy, which laid these truths out more eloquently than I did here.

 

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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

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