[God] comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
—2 Corinthians 1:4
When you are in the prison of God’s testing, I suggest three things to remember that will give you some encouragement.
First, remember God’s sufficiency. Second Corinthians 1:4 says that God “comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” That word “comfort” in Greek means “strengthen.” God strengthens us in our affliction. Notice God doesn’t deliver you out of your problem and then strengthen you. Instead, God comforts you through the test and through the affliction.
Second, remember God’s timetable. When you find yourself in the prison of God’s testing, remember God’s timetable is usually different from yours. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything appropriate in its time.” Yes, your affliction may seem endless, but it’s not for God. Remember Joseph? He felt like he would be in prison forever, but on a certain day, the chief jailer threw open the prison door and said, “Joseph, you are free.” And the same thing will happen to you; on a certain day, God will say to you, “Enough. The test is over.”
Third, remember God’s purposes. God has a purpose for the test you are experiencing right now. His purpose is bigger than your immediate comfort. Think about Joseph. What if things had worked according to Joseph’s plans, and the cupbearer had gone to Pharaoh and Pharaoh released Joseph? Where do you think Joseph would have gone? He would have hightailed it back to Canaan to be with his family, and he would not have been in Pharaoh’s court to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, an interpretation that would save not only Egypt but Israel as well. You see, God had a purpose for this test that Joseph couldn’t see at the time, and God has a purpose for the test you are experiencing right now.
You are a part of something bigger than yourself. Your testing is a part of God’s eternal purpose, and it is part of God’s plan for what He is doing inside of you as well. Romans 8:29 says God has one purpose for your life: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” More than anything, God wants to make you just like His Son, Jesus Christ. And tests are God’s way of revealing what is inside of us so that He can change whatever is not like Jesus Christ.
Finally, the test you are going through is evidence that you belong to God. When you are going through a test, never forget God is with you, and He is working within you.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Forgotten, Forsaken, Forever?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.