Thursday, August 26, 2010

SUFFERING by Charles R. Swindoll

Insight for Living Share with a Friend Share with a Friend

August 25, 2010

by Charles R. Swindoll

2 Corinthians 1

Of all the letters Paul wrote, Second

Corinthians is the most autobiogra


In this letter Paul records the specifics

of his anguish, tears,affliction and

satanic opposition.He spells out the details

of hispersecution, loneliness, imprisonments,beatings,

feelings of despair, hunger,

shipwrecks,sleepless nights,

and that "thorn in the flesh"

---his companion of pain.

How close it makes

us feel to him when we see him

as a man with real, honest-

to-goodness problems,

just like ours!

It is not surprising, then, that

he begins the letter with words

of comfort, especially

verses 3 through 11. Ten times

in five verses(vv. 3-7) Paul uses

the same root word,Parakaleo,

meaning literally, "to call alongside."

This word involves more than a

shallow pat on the back.

This word involves genuine,

in-depth understanding . . . deep

-downcompassion and sympathy.

This seems especially appropriate

since it says that God, our Father,

is the "God of all comfort" who "

comforts us in all our affliction."

Our loving Father is never

preoccupied or removed when

we are enduring sadness and


There is another observation

worth noting in 2 Corinthians 1.

No less than three reasons

are given for suffering, each

one introduced with the term

that: "that we will be able to

comfort those who are in any

affliction"; "that we would not

trust in ourselves"; "that thanks

may be given" (vv. 4, 9, 11).

Admittedly, there may be dozens

of other reasons, but here are

three specific reasons we suffer.

Reason #1: God allows suffering

so that we might have the capacity

to enter intoothers' sorrow and


Reason #2: God allows suffering

frequently takes suffering to

make the lesson stick.

Reason #3: God allows suffering

so that we might learn to give

thanks in everything.

Now, honestly, have you said,

"Thanks, Lord,for this test"?

Have you finally stopped struggling

and expressed to Him how much

you appreciate His loving

sovereignty over your life?

How unfinished and rebellious

and proud and unconcerned we

would be without suffering!

May these things encourage you

the next time God heats up

the furnace!

Years ago I heard

two statements


suffering that I have



"Pain plants the flag


reality in the

fortress of a rebel heart."


"When God wants to do an


task, He takes an impossible


---and crushes him."

Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll,

Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.

(Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved

worldwide. Used by permission.

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