There is not a single person among us who hasn’t struggled with a major calamity in life. It may have been a severe illness that left us bedridden for weeks. It may have been a broken relationship that shattered our hearts to pieces. It may have been an addiction that we couldn’t break. It may have been the loss of somebody very dear that caused us immense sorrow. It could have been one of a hundred things. We might have asked the question we often ask in such a situation, “Why me, Lord?”
There are several reasons why God lets us go through struggles, but Paul has one that we need to pay attention to because we often overlook it. He wrote: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
God never leaves our side in our difficulties (even if we sometimes imagine he does!), and he takes us through them, leaving us wiser and stronger. Hopefully, we are grateful to God for this, but it isn’t enough to be merely thankful for the comfort, healing, and other blessings we have received. We need to extend it to others.
Our assistance or advice is far more effective and meaningful because of the experiential knowledge and the unique perspective we possess. We know what the other person is going through because we have gone through the same pain or loss or struggle ourselves. And those being assisted will appreciate our help more than what is provided by somebody who only has theoretical knowledge about the situation because they know we really understand.
This will also help us get through whatever we may be going through—be it a debilitating disease, a rough marriage, a desert experience—because it will be with the understanding that God is putting us in a unique position to help others.
So, if you have been delivered from an addiction, aid those who are addicted. If you have been healed from a sickness, comfort those who are sick. If you have recovered from a rough and painful break-up, help others get through the pain of theirs. If you have been lifted up by the encouragement that people have provided you in your wilderness phase, lift others up in turn when you are out of the desert.
God blesses us so that we can bless others. When we do, God blesses us even more. So, what are you waiting for?