It’s important to understand suffering so we can help others through hardships and keep our faith when in the midst of suffering.
According to Kelly Minter, one way we misinterpret suffering is by treating it as a consequence of wrong doing.
“Sometimes we’re uncomfortable with suffering and it’s easier for us if we can figure out what someone’s doing wrong, if they’re in a situation of suffering. Even in our own lives, we sometimes think oh I must be doing something wrong or God wouldn’t allow that.”
This idea that if we suffer it’s because we’ve done something wrong is contrary to the truth of the Gospel. So why do we suffer? One of the reasons God lets us suffer is so we can learn to be comforted by Him and pass that comfort onto others.
“Just because we have suffered and gone through something, that doesn’t make us a good comforter to someone else. There’s a lot of people that have suffered through really difficult things and they’re not necessarily good comforters.”
“What makes us a good comforter is when we received comfort from Christ ourselves in that suffering, and then we have something to pass on.”
Seeking and receiving comfort from God is not always our natural response in the midst of suffering and pain. Kelly says we need to intentionally be open and willing to God.
“We’re not always in a position where we’re willing to receive comfort from God. I know that I’m guilty of that. I’ve been in a hardship and I was mad at the Lord. I didn’t want what he wanted to give me, I just wanted him to change my situation or I wanted Him to fix it.”
In order to be a good comforter we must first let God comfort us. If we suffer well and comfort those who suffer with us, our suffering is not in vain.
Kelly Minter is the author of 4 books and 5 Bible Study curriculums for adults, as well as having released several albums of original music. Her most recent book release chronicles her many trips to Brazil with Justice and Mercy International, an organization that serves the poor and forgotten in the Amazon Jungle region as well as elsewhere in the world. Click here for more information about Kelly’s Cultivate Event in Fargo, North Dakota in October 2017.
Key Scripture: 2 Corinthians
Featured Songs: Sing For You – Steven Curtis Chapman; Chain Breaker – Zach Williams; Rise – Danny GokeyUnderstanding suffering