What a great day of worship we had on Sunday! Our son Daniel, Worship Pastor at the Greenbrier Campus, did his CD release concert. If you missed it, you can purchase a CD Sunday at your campus at the Media Center. He did a great job on this project and we could not be more proud of him and the worship team! Our services Sunday morning were so full of the Lord’s presence; it was one of those days where you don’t want to leave! The message was on comforting one another. Everyone is hurting. “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18) is so practical and personal. Paul unpacks this idea further in 2 Corinthians 1, where he uses the word “comfort” nine times. In this passage, we see four reasons why we can comfort one another.
The Presence of God
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, we read that the “God of all comfort… comforts us in all our tribulation….” Tribulation can be physical, emotional, financial, or relational. It is a one-size-fits-all kind of word. Fill in the blank with whatever you are going through! In John 14:26, the Holy Spirt is called the Comforter. God said, “When you go through the fire I will be with you” (Is. 43:2), and “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). We have a God who stands beside us to take up our cause, encourage us, strengthen us, and comfort us. In order to experience comfort, you must first experience tribulation, hurt, pain, and know what it means to mourn. God is the only source of comfort. When you complain, feel sorry for yourself, wallow in self-pity, or grow bitter, you cut yourself off from the only source of comfort.
The Purposes of God
The second half of verse 4 says, “that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble….” God lets you go through some things knowing somebody will travel that same road. In 1992 when we buried our little boy, a lady said, “Pastor you cannot see it now but God is going to use this in your life to help so many couples who have lost a child.” God sent us to the school of suffering so we would learn comfort. God does the comforting, but He uses people. God’s comfort will fill your cup till it runs over! God gives us enough to meet our needs and the needs of others. Another purpose is that we might be emptied of all self-reliance. Verse 9 says, “that we should not trust in ourselves but in God.” Dr. Ron Dunn used to say, “You learn to trust God by trusting God. You only trust God when you have to. God will see to it that you have to.”
The Promises of God
Verse 20 references the promises of God. The difference between happy and unhappy people is not the absence of trouble, it is the way they respond to their trouble. There are two ways you can deal with problems: God’s way or the world’s way. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” God’s way changes your heart. The world’s way produces death, anger, bitterness, and resentment. There is no comfort in unbelief. There is a God and we have the promises of His word to hold on to! Think about the 23rd Psalm, Isaiah 42:1-3, Romans 15:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, Romans 8:28, and more.
The People of God
In 2 Corinthians 1:1, Paul talks about Timothy. In 2 Corinthians 7:6, he says God “comforted us by the coming of Titus….” There are people all around us ready to give up on life, give up on their marriage, kids, job, church, etc., but God is going to send YOU to comfort them and spur them to keep going.
Sometimes, God allows things He hates to accomplish what He loves. Do you have a broken heart today? We throw broken things away but God never uses someone until they are broken. If you have a broken heart, broken hopes, a broken home, bring it to Jesus. Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. You can know Him, in the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.