– Michael Youssef
Believe it or not, God uses our suffering to help others and complete tasks for Him. How so? It is God “who comforts us in all 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 1:4). If we’re afflicted by something, we can then give comfort to others since God has comforted us in our own afflictions. As such, we should feel compelled to comfort others by the same comfort that we’ve been given. Since God “comforts the downcast” (2 Corinthians 7:6), should we not do the same?
God has equipped every single believer with one or more gifts. But how do you know which gifts you have? Ask others. But try doing something you believe you might be gifted in, and you’ll quickly find out if that’s your gift. Edison failed thousands of times to find the best light bulb. If you’re not sure of your gift, think about this: What is something you love to do? What is it that you’d do for free if you had the money to survive? That may be a strong indicator of where your gift might be found. For some it is administration, while for others it’s teaching. If you are a Christian, you must have a gift; otherwise, you contradict Scripture because Paul writes that everyone has “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith” (Romans 12:6). He’s given them to us, so we should use them. By Paul saying that God’s given them to us, he means all of us in the Body of Christ–the church. There is no doubt that “each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” (1 Corinthians 7:7). So find it and use it to complete God’s task for you but for His glory.
Through Open Doors
God is the Potter, and we are the clay. As such, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Stop and meditate on those words for a moment. We’re God’s workmanship, we’re created in Christ for good works, and we’re to walk in these works because “God prepared [them] beforehand” just for us. God will sometimes make us almost stumble upon opportunities to do what He wants us to. But surely God can open doors that no one else can (Revelation 3:8), just as for Paul and Barnabas, for “when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
God will often use others to point out your spiritual gifts. And then after discovering your gifts, God will sovereignly place you across someone else’s path to help you utilize your gifts. Maybe He already has and you don’t even know it yet. But you have a gift, no doubt about it, and I believe we have more than one gift. The gift might be the gift of hospitality that would serve our nursing home ministry. It could be the gift of mercy, which is beneficial for our prison ministry. It might be the gift of administration, which is a blessing for our church board and comes through a woman who keeps precise records for us.
God would never call anyone to a task unless He has already equipped them by a spiritual gift. Since God equips every single believer, we might be called to comfort others, to identify and then use our spiritual gifts. We are to trust God, knowing that He’s prepared tasks for us to do beforehand and that He will provide an open door, which might be through others.