1. God promises to comfort us in our affliction (2 Cor. 1:3-4). We can ask him on the basis of his Word to comfort us. Then we should pursue channels of that comfort! Psalm reading, praying (honestly), listening to worship music, asking brothers and sisters to pray for us, etc. God can and will use all these things (and more) to comfort us in our pain.
2. God promises that he is working in our suffering. This is always a tough one to hear, but it is true. Our pain is never meaningless. God promises to produce endurance, character, and hope in us through our trials (Romans 5:3-4). While there is breath in our lungs, God is still working in us, creating the image of his Son in us, who also suffered in this world.
3. God promises to ultimately deliver us out of our suffering. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). Some deliverance may come in this world, some may not. But our pain will not last forever. Though the days and weeks may seem to drag on, one day God will deliver us.
4. God promises that eternal glory will far outweigh our suffering here and, in fact, that our suffering here is preparing us for that glory (Romans 8:18, 2 Cor. 4:17). That doesn’t make it less-painful, but it does give us perspective and hope (see #2. above)!
5. God proves to us that he is not oblivious, powerless, or indifferent to our suffering. Suffering is a part of a sinful and broken world. But God demonstrated his love for us by entering that world in Jesus, who willingly endured the greatest suffering- bearing the judgment for our sins on the cross, that he may reconcile us to God and make all things new. This coming newness includes no suffering. It includes a place where every tear is wiped from our eyes and where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things” will have passed away. (Revelation 21:4).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.