Consolations In Times Of Suffering
By Horatius Bonar (1808 – 1889)
“I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
Let us suggest a few consolations in times of suffering:
1. All things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). Out of all evil comes good to the saints; out of all darkness comes light; out of all sorrow comes joy. Each pang, sharp or slight, is doing its work – the very work which God designs, the very work which we could not do without.
2. There is special grace for every trial. As trials bring to light the weakness that is in us, so they draw out to meet that, the strength of God – new resources of strength and grace which we never knew before. In affliction we may be quite sure of learning something more of God than we were acquainted with before – for it is just in order to furnish an opportunity for bringing out this, and showing it to us, that He sends the trial.
3. Oftentimes, we see that the heaviest trials are forerunners of our greatest usefulness. When we are entirely prostrated and crushed, then it is safe to grant us success, for God gets all the glory. And, oh, what wonders has God often done by bruised reeds!
4. We have the Holy Spirit as our Comforter. He is mighty to comfort as well as to sanctify. His name is “the Comforter.” His office is to console. And in the discharge of this office He puts forth His power, not only indirectly through the Word, but directly upon the soul, sustaining and strengthening it when fainting and troubled. It is consolation unspeakable to know that there is a hand, a divine and omnipotent hand, laid upon our wounded spirit, upholding it. In the day of oppressive sorrow, when bowed down to the dust, what is it that we feel so much our need of as a hand that can come into close and direct contact with our souls, to lift them up and strengthen them? For it is here that human consolation fails. Friends can say much to soothe us, but they cannot lay their finger upon the hidden seat of sorrow. They can put their hand around the fainting body, but not around the fainting spirit. To that, they have only distant and indirect access. But here the heavenly aid comes in. The Spirit throws around us the everlasting arms, and we are invincibly upheld. We cannot sink for He sustains, He comforts, He cheers. And who knows so well as He how to sustain, and comfort, and cheer?
5. The time is short. We have not many days to suffer, nor many nights to watch, even though our whole life were filled up with weary days and sleepless nights. “For our light affliction…is but for a moment…” (2 Cor. 4:17). And besides the briefness of our earthly span, we know that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. This is consolation, for it tells not only of the end of our tribulation, but of the beginning of our triumph; nay, and not only of our individual rest from trouble, but of the rest and deliverance of the whole church together. For then the whole body of Christ shall be glorified with their glorified Lord, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.
We take our stand and look out amidst the darkness of night for the first streaks of morn. We lay our ear to the ground and listen, that, amid all the discord of earth, the uproar of war, the tumults of the nations, we may catch the first sounds of our Lord’s chariot wheels – those chariot wheels that are to bring to the bosom of the long-betrothed bride the Husband of her youth, the desire of her soul....