Below is an excerpt (again) from the book, Let Go, by Fenelon. (You can read the BLOG, Death to Self, to gain further information on this author.) Fenelon continues to address the idea of suffering and in this specific letter, he addresses a believer who is dissatisfied with God's will:
I think you know what God requires of you. The question is, will you do it? You understand that your love of self is causing the struggle you are having with the will of God. So now what you must decide is this: are you going to allow pride and selfish ambitions to keep you from doing what God in His mercy wants you to do? . . . Is this continued resistance due to the fact that He has not given you what you want in a way that will flatter your ego? You need to understand that you are being influenced by selfish pride when you reject the gifts of God, just because they do not come in a shape that suits your tasteOUCH! Can you please step off of my toes for just a minute?
He then goes on further to comfort his friend:
Though it sounds strange to say it I am rejoicing that God has reduced you to a state of weakness. Your ego can neither be convinced nor forced into submission by any other means: it is always finding secret lines of supply from your own courage; it is always discovering impenetrable retreats in your own cleverness . . . I would rather have you consider me as a means of death to your love of self. For just as surgical instruments would fail in fulfilling their purpose if they did not minister to life, so an instrument of death would be falsely named if, instead of slaying, it kept alive. For the time being, I would be that instrument of death. If I seem to be hard,unfeeling, indifferent, pitiless, wearied, annoyed, and contemptous, God knows how far it is from the truth. But He permits me to seem this way. And I shall be much more serviceable to you in this false and imaginery character than were I to show my real feelings and very human desire to help. You see, the point is not how you are to be sustained and kept alive, but how you are to give up and die.How quick are we to offer comfort in the midst of suffering? What should Christian comfort look like?
In II Corinthians 1:3-5, it reads:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who 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. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.Therefore, I guess the question should rather be, how does God comfort us? It is that comfort that we could be emulating. How quick are we to embrace the good from God and not the bad (Job 2:10)? How often do we want to take away the pain and suffering of dear brothers and sisters, forgetting that the testing of our faith (i.e. suffering) results in praise, glory and honor of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7).
So, how should a believer comfort someone who is suffering? With the TRUTH of God's Word! We mourn when they mourn. We dance when they dance. We encourage the fainthearted and help the weak. We bear one another's burdens. But most importantly, we point them to Christ Jesus. Not to their self!
We do not question why some strange and terrible thing is happening. Nor do we convince them how undeserving they are to suffer. But we remind them that it is our joy to suffer with Christ. Why? Because it is through suffering that we attain perseverance, proven character, and a hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).
Let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). For our struggle is not FOR the FLESH, but FOR the GLORY of God through Christ Jesus. Amen.