The Bible, however, is not silent on the subject. Some of the best information is found in 2 Corinthians.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort (2 Cor 1:3-7).Paul starts with a blessing for God. The subject at hand? Suffering. Paul says first that God is blessed for comforting us when we suffer. That's good. We like that. Further, he assures us that we will suffer: "The sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance." Have you bought the notion that Christians (or, perhaps, anybody else) should not suffer. Not going to happen. We will suffer and God will comfort.
I find it interesting that Paul explains why God comforts us. He says exactly that He comforts us "so that" and gives us the reason for God's comfort: "We will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." God comforts you in suffering for His glory, of course, but also to give you the tools to comfort others in the same situation. It is schooling, so to speak. Your pain gives you a platform from which to offer assistance with the wisdom of experience. "Yes, I've been there. Let me tell you how God got me through it ..." The more you suffer and are comforted by God, the more you are able to comfort others. It's a good thing!
"But, Stan, Paul isn't talking about suffering so much as he is about comfort." Yes, so far. But read on. "If we are afflicted," he says (and he just said that the sufferings of Christ was theirs in abundance), "it is for your comfort and salvation." There it is in plain language. Why do we suffer? We are comforted in suffering in order to comfort others. But why do we suffer? "For your comfort and salvation." When you endure affliction and receive comfort from God, when you work through tough times and continue on the path, when you endure with thanksgiving the pain of life, others are comforted. You give others safer ground on which to stand.
We all know the catch phrase, "No pain, no gain." The Bible has its own version here. And I'm convinced that our most fruitful times of growth occur not when we're comfortable, but when we're not. When we're in the most pain, the most conflict, the most difficult circumstances and have nowhere to turn but to God's comfort, that's when we are most blessed and others are most comforted by it. Suffer not? I don't think so.