"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
2 Corinthians 1:5
I read this yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon, I found out a good friend of mine had lost a younger sibling, the second this year.
And I wondered about sin and the brokenness that exists in the world. So often, I think that Jesus doesn't understand my problems. That because he was God, he was somehow not really able to experience the worst parts of being a not-God person. But if on the cross, he did not just step in as a replacement for sin but actually became the sin so that sin would be destroyed, I reckon he knows a lot more than I give him credit for. For in becoming sin, he actually took on the weight of every measure of suffering that was, is, and will be. Essentially, he felt an eternity's worth of pain, including yours and mine. And I don't mean he just got "punished" for it but that he actually felt it.
Paul says here that those sufferings will "flow into our lives," and I take that to mean that we should expect such things. A faith that banks upon a smooth life is one with a paper mache foundation. I don't know what to say to my friend Parks as he copes with the loss of his brother; there are no words that can bring him back. I'd just end up sounding like one of Job's friends anyway. How can I even begin to know what they're going through?
So instead of giving them some trite devotional, I'll just continue to hope and pray that just as the Carpenter family has had an extreme measure of suffering flow into their lives this year, they will also see his comfort flow into their lives, too.