by Rick Warren — March 20, 2023
From Where is God When It Hurts
“[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)
One of the purposes of your life is to serve others. And God can use your pain to help you serve more effectively—by making you more sensitive to other people’s pain.
Pain makes you more empathetic to those who are experiencing the same kind of pain you’re in. Rather than focusing on your own pain, you can choose to redirect your focus to helping others in pain.
Jesus wants to redeem your suffering. Redemptive suffering is when you use the pain you’re going through to help other people. This is what my wife Kay and I have tried do with the pain we feel from losing our son through suicide. In the years since Matthew’s death, not a week has gone by without someone—a friend or stranger, well-known or unknown, old or young—calling Kay or me and asking for help, because they know we’ve been through it and we’re willing to share God’s comfort with them.
The Bible says, “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:4-6 NLT).
Who is better qualified to minister to a parent grieving the loss of a child than another parent who has experienced such grief? Who is better qualified to help someone with an addiction than someone who has also battled an addiction? Who is better qualified to walk with someone through a cancer diagnosis than someone who has fought their own cancer?
Whatever pain you are suffering right now, God wants to use it to help others if you’ll surrender it to him.