“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Someone might ask whether God allowed Hurricane Harvey to wash away their house to punish them for some grievous sin. I’m not going to speak for God, and even if they did pray for supernatural protection all around their house, I wouldn’t jump right to that conclusion.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (John 9).
With regard to the 9/11 World Trade Center survivors, I remember people commonly saying how much God must have been watching over them that day, and I do not disagree, but I guarantee you that Jesus Christ was there personally alongside those who did not survive. God was watching over survivors and victims, alike, on that terrible day.
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:1-5).
Jesus was honest. He never sugarcoated the truth. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The glorious promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” is talking about a much bigger picture than a mere happily ever after on this side of heaven; happily ever after isn’t the purpose of this life. That’s not to say many good things won’t come our way, but hardships are coming too.
After his resurrection, Jesus told them, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Paul offers praise to the God of all comfort. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We do not struggle in vain, nor do we struggle alone. God has shown me that one of the secrets to contentment, while in this life, is having an eternal perspective. We in Christ are being prepared for greater things.
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