for as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. [2 corinthians 1:5]

i have been married for 30 years. that’s not a humble brag or passive ask for applause. but for God’s pursuant and never ending grace, our marriage wouldn’t have made year three. i say this to give some context to my next statement.

we share a robust love because of our shared afflictions.

fran and i have shared many deep hurts, griefs, and sorrows i never imagined we would know when we first married on february 17, 1990. again, some of those things that could have ripped us a part, by God’s grace, have united us in a deep and rich love. there is a similar principle in our relationship with Jesus.

we will know a deep intimacy with Jesus as we share in the sufferings of Jesus.

pastor marc shared this truth wednesday. “there is a deep reservoir of comfort and intimacy in Jesus that we miss out on because we are not suffering in the afflictions of Jesus.” what does that practically mean for you and i. here’s the principle in process.

  1. we are called to stand and live in the truth and love of Jesus.
  2. as we stand and live in Jesus, there will be joy but there will also be persecution and affliction because of who we stand with.
  3. in our “affliction for Jesus”, we will be comforted by Jesus.

there is a depth of friendship, a richness of intimacy, that we often miss with our Savior because we are not suffering with him.

go back and look at this verse. what is the key to the whole of this principle for us. the key word in this passage is not share, suffering, or comfort. all are important, but the key is “Christ”. many of us are suffering, but not for Christ. for sure, he cares about all my afflictions and i believe he is our Comforter in all our sorrow and sufferings. but he promises a different, richer intimacy of comfort as we share in “Christ’s sufferings.” on the same note, many of us are finding comfort in this world as we suffer, but we are not finding our comfort in Christ.

the key to the deep an intimate comfort promised in suffering – is Christ. when we share in his sufferings, for his name, we will share in his comfort by his presence. and, it will be a rich comfort that will grow a deep and robust intimacy.

where to begin? today, be ruthlessly honest in your heart and allow your prayers to reflect this honesty.

  1. begin with praise and adoration. Jesus has suffered for you so he can now suffer with you and comfort you. praise him!
  2. enter into confession. if you have not been living and standing in Jesus, making much of his name, he will hear and forgive. grace abounds because of his suffering.
  3. ask for humble boldness to live and speak in his name. ask now for a humility and boldness that will allow you to speak the truth and love of Jesus to family, to co-workers, to fellow students, and more.

~ john ryan