Woman weeping, shadow of Jesus with His hand on her shoulder
Woman weeping, shadow of Jesus with His hand on her shoulder

Praying for God’s Comfort

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies
and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we

may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with
which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in
Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV

What is a Christian’s responsibility in times of suffering? Is it to pray and/or read the Bible more? Is it about resolving to have more faith or trust in Jesus? Is it a matter of being willing to maintain a positive perspective while refusing to give in to adverse circumstances?

To be responsible means that you are accountable or answerable for something; and, in this case, that something is your response to affliction. Such a weighty thought. Yet, as every human will suffer on this side of eternity, it behooves us to accept suffering and ponder deeply on how we are to respond when it comes. James 1:2-4 takes the aspect of suffering further by explaining that hardships are essential for growth in faith:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various
kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces
steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that
you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Praying manWhile prayer and spending time in God’s Word will undoubtedly help us through difficulties, my point is that moral bravery, inner strength, or the ability to overcome adversity, cannot be our starting point. We are simply not strong enough to endure in a world of suffering and turmoil. I submit to you that, as Christians, our ultimate responsibility in suffering is to first turn to Christ and seek His comfort. He is the only One who can bring us true consolation in times of trouble, and then empower us to live Godly lives. When we come to Christ, His response is to provide the comfort for which we long. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He faithfully does so by reminding us of His promises and providing assurance of the eternal home that He is preparing for us.

Why must we seek Christ’s comfort first? When we operate apart from Christ, we are helpless, weak and prone to find other amenities that, though may give temporary pleasure, will not bring true satisfaction. At best, these luxuries will only distract us from our pain, for they are hollow and void of the lasting substance found only in Christ. The Heidelberg Catechism explains: “What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort? First, how great my sins and misery are. Second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery. Third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.”1

Those who mourn personal sin find comfort in confession and God’s merciful forgiveness. Then, as they mourn over the sins of the lost, they find comfort in His compassion. Having been forgiven and set free from their own sins, Christians are given the grace to be His witnesses to a lost and broken world. Therefore, we must pray that all believers will learn to come to Christ for comfort when the backlash of Godly living presses in. For, as surely as light pierces the darkness, many living in darkness will hate His light-bearers.

The idea of suffering persecution at the hands of those following the ways of a hate-filled world may seem daunting, which is why we must find rest in the comfort and peace our Saviour provides. Author C.S. Lewis wrote, “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain.”2

The primary purpose of the ministry when serving persecuted Christians is not to rescue them from suffering or provide resources that we think will bring them comfort. We would do members of the persecuted church a great disservice by causing them to seek comfort in anything apart from Christ. Our main objective is to remind our suffering brothers and sisters that the eternal God is their dwelling place, and underneath are His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Pray with us that our persecuted family around the world will find solace and comfort in the presence of their Lord and Saviour. Such ministry is especially needed when family members are killed, injured or imprisoned for their Christian witness. As these suffering believers receive His comfort, may they be empowered and equipped to comfort a hurting world with a testimony of the Father’s love. And as we pray for them, may we likewise be motivated to turn to Christ and strengthened to serve with Christlike compassion and mercy.

Floyd (signature)
Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Inc.

Endnotes: 1The Heidelberg Catechism, “Lord’s Day 1,” Question and Answer 2 2The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis (2005)

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