(2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV) 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.
Affliction. We don’t like it. It happens. Like C.S. Lewis in his discussion of the devil, we tend to take two unhealthy extremes. We deny it or we wallow in it (my paraphrase). Here we see a clear indication that we are to use the grace God gives us in our “tribulation” to help others through their suffering. To help others we gain credibility with the endorsement of experience. Having felt the “comfort” of God, we are better placed to share that with others, but what gives us authenticity is not the comfort but the pain.
A bit of caution is in order. I recently was sharing the pain of a young woman who had lost an infant. Her pain was real. Her anger was understandable. Part of her anger was directed toward people who tried to tell her it was all a part of some mysterious plan. There may come a time when she will understand that but it is hard to see your dead child as a glorious example of God’s wise planning. Comfort them, don’t lecture. Often comfort is wordless.