I really don’t like these two passages from 2 Corinthians. Yes I want the effect, but no I don’t want the cause.
“God is our Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. The more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 1:3–5
So… the only way to experience the richness of comfort is to suffer?
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” - 2 Corinthians 1:8,9
So… the only way to stop relying on myself and learn to rely on a God (who raises the dead) is to be crushed and overwhelmed beyond my ability to endure? How much really do I want to experience and know Him?
There is obviously something miraculous and world changing that we have the opportunity to find at the end of ourselves. When our own strength ends, we find His. But the process of finding the end of ourselves is painful. It is often after times of great drought, that I look back and see they were times of incredible spiritual wealth.
The hard, comfort-addicted reality is that scripture says that pain seems like the path to find real power. It’s consistent with the Jesus message that life comes through death. It aligns with the truth that if I want to find my life, I need to lose it. But, if we ever wonder why mediocrity and apathy permeate our lives and ministries, I think it has something to do with the cost.