Friday, January 9, 2015

NTDS (46): The God of Comfort

2 Cor 1:3-4  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…NIV

This is a bold statement made by the apostle Paul. God comforts us in all our troubles? Some of you may be thinking right now that this statement isn’t really true. You may have gone through or are now going through troubles and you say “I am not experiencing this comfort!” We may all go through times where we do not feel comforted and yet we know that God’s word is always true. If that is the case, then why do we not always experience His comfort?

I think there are two reasons that we may not always experience the comfort of God. You can remember them in two R’s, Recognize and Receive. What does that mean?

First, we need to recognize how God comforts us. I believe that God comforts us in three ways: the truth of His word, communication with Him in prayer and from the fellowship with other believers.

When trouble surrounds us, we should look to the Word, especially the promises that He has given us. We see in the Bible that everyone goes through tough times, so we know that we are not alone. John 16:33
 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

We also learn from the Word that our hardships often have great purpose. 2 Cor1: 8 "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."


God also promises us that our troubles will not last forever, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter 1:6
 

The word tells us that there are benefits that come from enduring trials, James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

These promises and the promises of salvation, eternal life with Him and the knowledge that He will never leave us or forsake us should always bring comfort to our hearts.

Secondly, when we are in the midst of difficulty, we gain comfort in prayer. Just knowing that we have an all-powerful God, who will actually listen to us, should bring comfort. Ps 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.”
Ps 118:5 "In my anguish I cried to the Lord,and he answered by setting me free." 

Many times in prayer, the Lord will speak to you with words of comfort. He will bring to you and overwhelming sense of peace, that you cannot explain, John 14:27“ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The third way that He brings comfort is from other believers. 2 Cor 1:6-7 “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

As you pray, God will often bring others into your life that can bring comfort to you. Paul shares two examples of this 1Thess 3:6-8, “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you—for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.”

2 Cor 7:6-8 “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 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.”
 

Now, the second R. Sometimes the reason we are not experiencing God’s comfort is that we refuse to receive it. If we really thought about it, I think we would have to admit that sometimes we would rather just wallow in our circumstance, rather than receive God’s comfort. We look at the promises of God in his word and choose to doubt them. We do not go to him in prayer and ask for his help and comfort. We don’t want to allow the Holy Spirit (the comforter) to render His comfort to us. Sometimes we even refuse to receive the comfort of a person God sends to us to help us through our time of grief.

Just as we had to make a free will choice to accept Christ into our life, just as we had to choose to surrender control of our life to Him, we must choose to receive the comfort he wants to bring to us. God has promised us comfort, He has promised us peace. We must learn to recognize how and when He is bringing it to us and then receive it from Him.

So, next time you are going through a difficult time, I pray that you will look for God’s comfort, so that you can recognize it when it comes and then choose to receive it gratefully.

God bless you
Coach


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