None of us enjoy going through painful situations. Life is much more enjoyable when everything’s going smoothly and just the way we want it.

But, I have realized that my deepest seasons of spiritual growth are not when everything’s going great, but when I’m desperately dependent on Him – for strength to get through a tough situation, for grace to respond in a godly way. Yes, I want to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord, but, to be honest, I don’t enjoy the process.

Pain and hardship are part of the process, and God uses those hard times in our lives for good. When we find ourselves in difficult times, will we run from God or to Him?

Our pain allows us to experience God’s comfort if we run to Him in that pain.

Paul reminds us of that in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:

”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…” 

God is the God of all comfort.

When we hear the word comfort, we may think of lying in a warm, soft bed on a cold morning in January. Or having plenty of money or material possessions so we never have to worry about having enough. Or feeling healthy.

But to fully experience comfort in the sense it’s meant in this passage, we need to experience pain in some form.

We’re all going to experience pain and hardship in life — relationships, health issues, loss of a loved one, disappointment, abuse, daily struggles.

And when we do experience pain, the God of all comfort will comfort us – if we let Him. If we run to Him, instead of away from Him. That doesn’t mean we can’t be honest with God with what we’re feeling, but He wants us to draw near to Him in the midst of it.

When I was going through a hard season with my mom the last few years of her life, there were days I didn’t think I could continue. I begged God to take her home and relieve her of this earthly body that was wearing out. It was draining to watch her suffer, and it was challenging to balance a full-time job with being a caregiver.

But God never left my side in those dark hours. He comforted me in a way I couldn’t have experienced if I had not gone through this.

As I look back at that season, I wouldn’t change anything – because I see now how God drew me into a deeper intimacy with Him during that time.

You may be in a hard season today. You may be crying out to God for relief, for answers, and you feel overwhelmed by the circumstances surrounding you. Don’t run away from Him. But, run to Him, and let Him comfort you.

How has God used pain in your life? How has He comforted you?