One of the most common, yet confusing, questions asked whenever discussions about religion or spirituality arise is, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Countless articles and books have been written on the subject, with varying degrees of success in providing a reasonable answer.
It is undeniable that many people lead good lives – outwardly at least – and often encounter serious hardships and tragedies. For those of us who are inclined to believe in the cause and effect relationship – that good things should lead to more good things, as well as bad things leading to bad consequences – we ask ourselves, “What’s the matter?” ? “
There is no easy explanation for bad things to happen to people who lead honest lives – although this has not discouraged theologians and philosophers from trying. But the scriptures offer a glimpse of the possible reasons. One of them – although it may provide little consolation as we go through struggles – is that personal suffering allows us to empathize and comfort others when they go through circumstances similar to those that we have. we have already known.
In 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7 we read these words of the apostle Paul:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our problems, so that we can comfort those who have problems with the comfort we have in us. same received. God. For just as the sufferings of Christ spread through our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are in distress, it is for your comfort and your salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you a patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, for we know that just as you share our suffering, you also share our comfort.
This, without a doubt, is a mouthful. It is tempting to try to dissect this passage into smaller pieces, but the bottom line is that when we go through seasons of suffering and receive comfort from God, we in turn can share what we have learned through the process. process for offering comfort. to others. In fact, the apostle uses the word “comfort” nine times in just four sentences.
Think of Paul, the former persecutor of Christians who, after his transformative encounter with Jesus Christ, endured adversity in many forms, including persecution, imprisonment, beatings and stoning, shipwrecks, disease and other trials. If anyone knew about the pain and the need for comfort going through it, Paul was the guy. He knew the subject intimately; an authority carrying the card on it.
But how does suffering prepare us to serve as comfort to others? I’ve written about this before, but after having open heart surgery, I knew it from personal experience, not from reading about it. So when I meet other people who have recently had the procedure, such as I did as a cardiology volunteer at a local hospital, or hear about someone who has just received the disturbing news from a cardiothoracic surgeon, I can understand what they’re going through. Sharing my own “heart journey,” I tried to offer hope, comfort, and comfort. With this I have found to be a good game plan for recovery.
Above all, it is understanding that we do not have to face the challenges of life alone. Whether it’s a health crisis, financial hardship, the loss of a loved one, overwhelming family challenges, addiction or any other issue, there are other people who have gone through hardships. similar circumstances.
Most importantly, our faith in God can sustain us even during the greatest adversities. And we, as disciples of Jesus, can remember this. During times of high stress, it can be easy to lose focus and forget, so it’s our job to encourage each other to remember. We can point out promises like Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength. They will come up with wings like eagles, they will run and never tire, they will walk and they will not faint.
And then, drawing on our own experience, we can indeed, as Paul writes, “comfort those in trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a seasoned journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited over 15 books. These include the recently published “Market Ambassadors”; “Business at its best: the timeless wisdom of proverbs for today’s workplace”; “Tufting Legacies”, “The Heart of Mentoring” and “Pursuing Life with a Shepherd’s Heart”. A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into over 20 languages and emailed worldwide by CBMC International. His blog address is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.