Nov 15, 2013

The God of All Comfort!

Like it or not, pain finds us all.  Pain has no friends.  No matter how tough or thick skinned that you think you are, pain finds its way through.  I comes in many different ways.  To name a few: words, abuse, loss, loneliness, judgment, illness, bad work/job situations.  At some point and time all of have to deal with pain.  We live in a fallen world, with fallen people…hey, bad things happen and those things that can hurt us deeply.

This past week I came across a verse I’ve read many times that I want to share with you that I think has some help for us when we are facing pain.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
"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 may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."
I want you to know that there is hope.  Hope’s name is Jesus Christ.  He is our salvation, but he is also a rich well of healing.  

God is the Source of all Comfort
So often when we suffer through pain we look to ourselves, our feelings, memories, we look to empty words, getaways, food, we look to pills, drugs, alcohol…or blame.  None of these things can offer real comfort.  They can only give temporary moments of relief and distraction.  When we try to find help in these things they actually do us more harm than good, they make the wound larger and feed the pain rather than heal it.
When you find yourself discouraged because of circumstances the first step is to look at the Lord and realize that in him is all that you need.  He is a deep and rich well of comfort. 

Isaiah 51:12 “I, I am he who comforts you;

If God can save your broken soul then don’t you think that he can also heal your broken heart?  Of course he can, and scripture tells us that he want too!  Understand this about God’s comfort:

God’s comfort is not just sympathy – Sympathy is not a bad thing per say, but sympathy by itself can actually weaken us rather than make us stronger, it sometimes only reminds us of our despair and offers no way out.  God does not just pat us on the head and give us a piece of candy to distract our attention from our troubles.  His comfort is more than that.  He gives us more than sympathy, he gives us comfort by strengthening our hearts so that we can face our trials and triumph over them.  Jesus knows what pain feels like, he knows what it means to be abandoned, and his father knows what it’s like to lose a child.  It’s from the same comfort he found in himself that he comforts us.

God’s comfort doesn’t take the trial away – One of the first things we pray for when we face a trial is that God would make it all go away.  Rarely does God grant that request.  You see, he usually has work he desires to do on us through the trial.  He doesn’t take it away, but he does something so much better:  HE GIVES US ALL THAT WE NEED through it.  God desires our tragedy and trial to be a building block, not a stumbling block.  He wants you to come out of it with victory and better, not defeated and wounded.

God’s comfort is not a moment, but a walk – God’s comfort is not just a onetime experience.  It’s not like flicking the light on or off.  Why?  Because the pain caused by trials can totally change our lives, we can carry the pain with us for a long time and carry the changes forever.  That’s why God doesn’t offer his comfort in just an event.  His comfort is not a moment, it’s a walk.

 So how does God comfort us?  God helps us victoriously walk with us through our pain in three ways:

We Walk through Pain with His Spirit.

Romans 8:26  "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
The word comfort in the bible literally means “to come along side.” That’s exactly what he does for us.  In fact, the Holy Spirit is called “comforter.    He comes along side us and walks us through the trial and the days, weeks, months, years, lifetime after the trial is gone.  That why he give His Spirit to believers.  Jesus calls the Spirit, “the Helper.”  That’s exactly what the Spirit does, helps.  Helps us see God’s perspective and purpose.  Helps us live the life he intends for us to live.  Helps us get through moments and trials that our own strength and wisdom cannot face.  John 14:25-27, John 16:13-15

We Walk through Pain with His Word
Psalm 119:50 "This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life."
God’s word is a rich well of insight and counsel for trials.  We see real examples of people who survive pain and trials through the scriptures.  We see how they failed and how they succeeded.  Furthermore, we hear directly from the voice of God.  I have found many times when I open God’s word to help me, I find just the right thing that speaks directly to my heart.      

We Walk through Pain with His People
2 Corinthians 1:4 “…so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction”
Have you ever had someone say to you, “been there done that”
It's actually true!  Whatever you are facing…realize that others have been there and done that.  Many walk around us everyday with the scars to prove it.  Whether you realize it or not I bet that God has placed someone near you that has “been there and done that” and can show you what they have learned from their scars.  God’s comfort for you comes in flesh and blood.
Paul experienced God’s comfort in flesh and blood through his friend Titus

2 Corinthians 7:6-7 "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7) and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more."
Hey, believe it or not… but you are a comforter.  You are God’s source of encouragement and comfort for someone else.  The experiences and pain that you have survived give you credibility and opportunity to help someone else.  You know exactly what a person in similar circumstances is going through and you know what they need to hear.  Use your experiences to speak the gospel, encouragement, and hope into other’s lives.  God comforts us not to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.
God doesn't want us to walk alone with no help, no hope, and no purpose.  He doesn't just leave us to be kicked when we are down...whether it's Satan, the world, others, or yourself that is doing the kicking.  He wants us to walk through pain victoriously.  He has help, he has hope, and he has purpose!  He's the God of All Comfort!