The humanly inexplicable firmness of the Christian’s hope is not only the deepest comfort in trials, but a strong testimony to a world filled with weak and rotting roots. — John Piper
Where does real hope and comfort come from in our trials?
C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end. If you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth — only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”
Deep down comfort comes from God’s Truth that has become welded into our souls by fire. It has to be appropriated by experiencing something painful. And, I wish I could say that it comes easy, but it doesn’t.
Simply put, you become an overcomer, by overcoming something hard.
You can find lots of “soft soap” available out there. Glib and easy quips, or clever quotes, that will appeal to those who only swim in the shallows of faith.
You know the guys. Job’s friends spouting nonsense that melts like wax when put to life’s sorest tests—words that only “sound good” to the one who has not walked through fires.
Yeah, their cute lines, with cotton candy comfort, will always draw a crowd. But, if you are enduring the horror of a great darkness? (Genesis 15:12)
Well, you know.
I wish way back yonder someone had said to me…
“Your believing must always be put to the fiery-furnace test—always.”
I know now, it is the fiercest storms that build your faith in God.
I don’t know if I would have believed them back then? But, at least I would have been prepared for what was coming; equipped for the seeming contradictions; armed for the doubt and disappointment; braced against the snickering “dark one,” and God’s painful and baffling silence.
I used to wonder, “Why wasn’t someone simply brave enough to say to me, ‘You, too, will have to kneel alone in the mud and blood of some Gethsemane, because Dear-heart, you cannot walk in the power of His resurrection apart from the fellowship of His sufferings’.”
Yes, grace is His gift, but power is not cheap.
We must stop peddling “feather bed” Christianity
The old hymn writer got it right when he asked Believers,
Must I be carried to the skies on flower beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?
(Am I A Soldier of The Cross, Isaac Watts, 1724)
It is the fire that welds Truth to the soul—personal suffering, that births authenticity.
Right there, is where you are introduced to the power of His resurrection—in the fellowship of His sufferings.
There is where you come to, know Him; (Philippians 3:10) there is where healing waters of comfort flow from our lives; where they gush forth as Living Waters from someplace that is real.
And, oh, how the world desperately longs for real.
But the firm foundation of God has written upon it these two inscriptions: “The Lord God recognizes those who are truly his!” and, “Everyone who worships the name of the Lord Jesus must forsake wickedness!” 2 Timothy 2: 19 TPT
Never fear while trial and hardship assail you, for there is a strength on your side. Neither lose courage nor hope as the curse upon life draws its noose tighter upon you, for there is a river of life that overflows on your account. Fear not. Worry not. Fret not. For the Lord knows all those who are His. He will keep His children from the force of His wrath and ever will He protect them from their enemy, Satan. He will be faithful to tend their needs and salve their wounds. We who believe and have departed the way of iniquity are secured in the mercy, peace, and fatherly love that abounds in His family. – Daily Promise, Blue Letter Bible (3/1/19)