I receive a lot of questions every week from different types of people. Every now and then I get a question I think would benefit many others. I’m not kidding anyone thinking I have all the answers. However, I grapple with these questions like anyone else and hope these responses will help someone. Used by permission of the original questioner.
Hey Jacob, I’ve recently lost my job and it’s been hitting me real hard. I keep hearing people say that God comforts us when we go through hard times, but how exactly does God do that?
I just want to start by saying that it’s so terrible that you lost your job and that I can’t imagine what you are going through. It is only natural to wonder why bad things happen to us and how God could allow those things to happen. Don’t feel ashamed for asking these kind of questions. If you pick up the Bible you’ll notice many of the authors grappling with these same questions.
Pain is one of those things that, when experiencing it, we would do anything to make it stop. We do things to numb that pain (like taking drugs, drinking alcohol, etc.) or to distract us from it (Netflix?) God however is not offering us an escape or distractions, but peace and power to overcome. He doesn’t promise to remove us from pain but to give us the power to persevere through that pain. A song in the Bible says that “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”
I suppose there are a few ways I have seen how God has used my pain for good and to comfort me when I’ve gone through tough times. I am often hit by extremely difficult circumstances but these things have helped me persevere. I hope it is useful for you.
1) God being bigger than pain shows me that pain is not eternal – only God is eternal. There will be an end to the pain but there won’t be an end to God. It might not happen instantly but God comforts us by reminding us that he will overcome everything that comes our way. A quote I once saw said, “In the end everything will be okay, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
2) When we trust in God that he has a plan in every situation, we can use pain to shape us to be stronger instead of breaking us. God comforts us by reminding us we are getting stronger, not weaker by the bad times that come our way.
3) Pain teaches us valuable lessons, equipping us to know how to care for others who also experience heartache. For example, a person who has lost their job knows how to support someone else who has lost their job. God comforts us by using us to heal and help others.
4) Pain is a reality check. It reminds us what the truly important things are in life. God gives us comfort by reminding us he’s more important than even the best things the world has to offer.
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