Paul shows us God’s specific purpose in our deeply trying, dark times: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation” (2 Corinthians 1:3–7).
Do you see God’s purpose here? In the midst of our afflictions, the Spirit comforts us. And in turn, we’re able to bring comfort to others who suffer deep afflictions. This is the Spirit’s work: to bring comfort to His people through voices that have been tested. Therefore, we can know that as our own suffering grows worse, the comfort of the Lord becomes even mightier within us.
There are two dear brothers on our ministry’s mailing list named Israel and Jesse. Israel is 100 years old and Jesse is 102. One quit working at 92, the other at 97. They each love the Lord and have been receiving my messages for years.
These men are not only natural brothers but truly are “brothers in the Lord.” Both testify that out of a lifetime of great trials, the joy of the Spirit has deepened in them. They’ve witnessed terrible disasters for an entire century—the Great Depression, two World Wars, terrible droughts—and they’ve suffered personally throughout their long lives. Yet, at their advanced years, these men are able to smile and proclaim more confidently than ever, “Through it all, God has not once failed.” Their testimony after having “seen it all” is a Holy Ghost comfort to the rest of us.