Misery loves company

I’ve heard it said that misery loves company, but I’ve never been able to find anyone that was willing to join me. I don’t know what it is about suffering that makes it less painful when you are not alone, but I know I seem to feel better when someone is with me, even if my condition gets worse.

I think there are people that believe God enjoys watching us suffer, that he causes us to suffer because he wants to teach us a lesson. I don’t see how that could be true given that he is always with us and would be experiencing the same thing.

When the Israelites sinned against the LORD, they always reaped the consequences of their actions. Misery or ‘âmâl (aw – mawl´) in Hebrew “depicts self-inflicted sorrow” (5999). Misery is not something we get from someone, it is what we bring on ourselves. “‘Amal means troublesome work, emphasizing the difficulty involved in a task or work as troublesome and burdensome” (5999).

The person that seemed to know the most about misery was Solomon. He wrote the phrase “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccles 1:2). Solomon was extremely rich and had unlimited resources at his disposal, yet he writes in the book of Ecclesiastes that all his effort did not bring satisfaction, only misery when he thought about his accomplishments.

There appears to be a direct link between sin and misery and it may be that misery is what comes from or is the result of sin. The more sin in a persons’ life, the more misery they will feel. It could be that Solomon had so much misery in his life because he was so successful. He accumulated many possessions, more than anyone in the world, and had 1000 wives and concubines.

God is our deliverer, but even he has limits to what he will put up with. When the Israelites cried out to him, he responded, “Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (Judges 10:13-14).

Even though God does get angry and has limits to what he will put up with, he does not turn his back on his children. He is always with us, especially in our misery. After the Israelites put away their strange gods and began to serve the LORD again, “his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel” (Judges 10:16). The word translated grieved, qâtsar (kaw – tsar´) means to dock off or curtail. One way to express how he felt is he couldn’t take anymore.

Because the Holy Spirit lives inside Believers, I imagine he feels what we feel, our experiences are his experiences, and our misery is his misery. Whatever we are going through, he is going through it with us. One of the things the Holy Spirit does for us is convict us of our sin. The reason may be because he can’t stand misery.

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