Too many of us believe that life is supposed to be easy. We are surprised when it turns out to be hard and difficult. When bad things happen we are taken aback and we can’t figure out why “bad things happen to good people.”
The sad reality of living in a world that is broken and marred by sin is that bad things do happen. There is trouble, there is pain, there is sadness. We live in a state of entropy. There is randomness and a decline into disorder. Because of this there will be trouble.
I am grateful that the Scriptures do not sugar coat this life. They point us to reality and if we listen will be better prepared for when the heartbreak and sadness comes.
Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we are ourselves are consoled by God. (2 Cor 1:3-4).”
What strikes me from the outset is that Paul assumes trouble affliction. There’s no “if”, it simply stated as a reality. God will console or comfort us in our affliction. We must engage and enter into the world knowing that affliction is part of life. It will come, we ought not be surprised by it. If we know it’s coming we can be prepared. We can know that there is a God who will comfort us and care for us. He will be our rock in times of trouble.
God is a consoling God, he is compassionate and merciful. God does not just have sympathy for his people. He has compassion and enters in to console. He is moved to action in light of our affliction. In a very real way, God moved into the neighborhood in the person of Jesus.
His care for us extends to “all our affliction.” There is no pain or sorrow that God won’t meet us in. He will join us in our pain and console us. We never have to fear being alone in our trouble.
His care for us is not for us alone. It is also for those in our lives. When we are consoled and cared for in our hurt we can turn around care for others. Our lives can reflect our all comforting God. We are to become wounded healers. In our wounded-ness we can enter in and be God’s representatives to those around us. This is how God works. He is represented by his people to his people.
Often when we are in the midst of our affliction and pain we ask, “Where is God?” God is in the neighbor or friend who takes you to coffee and listens. He is in the friend who asks, “What can I do?” God is among us in one another.