God lets us suffer and if comfort and a pain free existence are your priorities then you will be puzzled as to why this is. After all you might reason, imagine the following that God would get if he protected us from all the evil, stress and suffering in the world. You might think that people would be queuing up to follow this god who was willing to do what we wanted him to, he really would be a god who we had made in our own image.
God is different to us and we get some insight into one of the reasons that he allows us to suffer from these verses.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He 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! (2 Corinthians 1.3-6)
God allows us to suffer so that we can comfort others and when Paul (who wrote these words) was suffering he was aware that it would result in the comfort and salvation of others.
This is an unusual perspective for many people that can replace our more instinctive and individualistic response of ‘why me?’ Instead of just focusing on just our own needs, we can become more aware of how we can help others and be more empathetic because of our suffering.
This week I have talked with some people who are in real pain and I have been able to care for them more effectively because I have had similar struggles. In those particular struggles I didn’t thank God and I certainly did ask ‘why me?’ but I have been able to share the comfort that I received from God with other people.
I have to be honest and say that I would prefer that God protected his followers from all suffering, but he doesn’t and I trust that he knows best. He may not protect me from all problems but he does comfort and sustain me in life and for that I give God thanks.