Posted by: SandreS | July 15, 2009

God’s Current Answer to Suffering

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation (II Corinthians 1:3-7).

It should be noted that God’s current method of handling our sufferings is through divinely enabled endurance, not through “deliverance.” Again, longsuffering, not deliverance is part of the spiritual fruit that goes hand in hand with our Father’s grace.

Concerning God’s grace, Paul had this to say regarding his own “thorn in the flesh”:

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, “My GRACE IS SUFFICIENT for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (II Corinthians 12:8-10).

God’s current method of dealing with us is not through deliverance from our suffering; but through His all-sufficient grace, He strengthens us with divine consolation and comfort – resulting in Christ’s power resting on us. It is the divine paradox that, when we are weak, then we are strong. It is in the very midst our physical, emotional, mental, financial and social weaknesses that we find an abundant spiritual strength flowing forth from the Father.

Paul starts off II Corinthians with this amazing cornerstone of divine life (chapter 1, above), and then near the very end of his letter he reveals how this principle had been divinely activated in his own life (chapter 12, above). Paul not only taught this, but he was the divinely chosen Apostle of suffering, to live this truth. So much so that he also wrote in the same letter,

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you (II Corinthians 4:7-12).

The manifestation of Christ’s life in us is found in the weakness and frailty of our humanity.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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