There are many things that could be said in response to the question of why God allows trials in our lives, but here is one you may not have considered: God allows trials and hardship in your life so you can help others. As a result, whatever difficulty, challenge, or suffering you may be going through need not be wasted.

Paul writes, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer” (2 Corinthians 1:4-7 nlt).

It seems that when we are in need, when we are facing crisis, the world should just stop what it is doing and think about us. We think that we need to be cared for, encouraged, even catered to.

But the reality is that when you are hurting, if you will reach out to someone else, you yourself will be replenished and helped. Jesus said, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38 nlt).

After my beloved son Christopher was called home to heaven, people commended me and our family for continuing to minister, despite our pain over his sudden passing. While I appreciate those kind words, I must tell you that it actually helps me to help others.

My heart goes out to other people who are suffering like it never has before, especially if it is the death of a child. So it helps me to help them. Even writing these words helps me, knowing that they may minister to someone, somewhere.

I’m sure you know of someone who is hurting right now. Perhaps they have cancer, or have recently lost a loved one, or their marriage has unraveled. Go to them and seek to be a friend and encourage them today.

Don’t waste your experiences. God is in control of your life, and allows trials to come our way in order to strengthen us spiritually and make us more like Jesus.

Whatever you are facing, know that someone else is facing it too. Perhaps you could share with them some of the things the Lord has shared with you, and “be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”