When I personally need some measure of hope, I want to speak to someone I know, someone who has experience with enduring tribulation and pain. I don’t want someone who will offer me hollow platitudes, such as, “Just hang in there,” or “Just trust God.” My suffering soul cannot be moved or touched by words of mere human sympathy.
Rather, I would love to talk for half an hour with the believer who emailed me about having to watch his wife slowly die of Lou Gehrig’s disease. As this man described to me the depth of his pain, he said, “God is good. He is seeing me through.”
I would also love to talk with the Christian woman in Indonesia who has suffered physical pain for years, enduring one operation after another. Despite her ongoing trial, she praises God and gives Him glory in all things. Here is someone who has both patience and experience in the suffering that works hope.
My faith and hope are greatly encouraged by friends I know who are veterans of spiritual warfare. I have witnessed the many tribulations of such faithful friends and I know of their present suffering, sorrow and pain. When I call them I ask, “How are you doing?” I know the answer ahead of time, and it brings great hope to me.
They do not fake their responses. They are totally honest when they say, “David, I’m really hurting. Sometimes the pain overwhelms me. At times I hurt so badly it brings me to tears.”
These saints are enduring the fires of affliction. Yet there always comes from them a reassuring word: “God is bringing me through. I know He is faithful. And I trust Him. I know He is with me.”