Repeatedly I am asked variations of this question: Did the Lord comfort you or were you sometimes lonely or sad? It is not an either-or thing. If I had not been lonely and sad at times, how could I have needed, received, or appreciated comfort? It is the sick who need the physician, the thirsty who need water. This is why Paul not only did not deplore his weaknesses, he “gloried” in them, for they provided the very occasions for his appropriating divine help and strength.
It was in prison that Joseph knew the presence of the Lord.
It was in the lion’s den that Daniel’s faith was proved.
It was in the furnace that Daniel’s three friends found themselves accompanied by a fourth.
We have plenty of “proof texts”–but in order to experience their truth we have to be placed in “proof contexts.” The prison, the lion’s den, the furnace are where we are shown the realities, incontestably and forever.