Can you ever recall, as a child, being comforted during a time of emotional distress? When someone actually connected with you, listened to you, understood your pain, and gave you reassurance afterwards, so you felt better?
Sadly, many of us were not comforted, but developed ungodly reactions. Discover what comfort is NOT, and what does help.
Last week we were sharing a message called Comfort in Times of Trouble. I started off by sharing about God's nature, and we're going to look at that again, and we're going to look at another aspect of it today. I talked specifically about the comfort of the scriptures, how the word of God is designed to put strength in you, when you're in a time of difficulty.
Thessalonians – “It changed your lives, because you received it not as the word of man, but as the word of God - which works powerfully in you, when you believe”.
There's a part we have to play, for God's word to work. You can get hold of God's word in a time of trouble, and it strengthens you. I have been strengthened greatly by scripture over the years. Sometimes a vision, an impression, a prophetic word hasn't been enough, but a scripture has just given substance and strength.
2 Corinthians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort”.
God is a Father (or an author) of mercies - of tender compassion. The heart of God is never against us, He's always for us, full of compassion. When you're in trouble, His heart is soft and tender and affectionate. He wants to help - He's the Father of mercies, many mercies.
We're even called to come to the throne of grace to find mercies - that's what God is like. His heart is to be tender and merciful to us - He's the God of all comforts. One of the ways that God shows us His mercy is: He comes to us in difficult times, to comfort us.
In a difficult time - you don't feel that God is near you at all. He feels a long way off, but nevertheless, He is nearer then than at any time in your life - in the difficult times.
Everyone experiences hard times, pressure, difficulties. Things you thought would happen, didn't happen; things happened you didn't think would happen - and the tendency, when we get into pain is: we lose perspective - and we tend to isolate.
We discussed why people isolate. The biggest difficulty people have in times of strain and pressure (marriage, family, etc) is the tendency to isolate and withdraw - and then problems become magnified and very big.
It says: “...who comforts us in ALL our tribulations.” In ALL difficulties we face, in ALL pressures we face, God comforts us.
He has a purpose in comforting us – “...that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort we've received”. So God has two purposes in comforting you: 1) to bring release and relief to you, in the time of stress - by bringing you into experiencing Him; and 2) having given you an experience with Him, that you would go and share that with someone to help them.Main Message
God's purpose in your life is always redemptive. If you're in trouble, He gets you out - so you can help someone else get out. That's what ‘redemptive’ means. If you're in a mess, even if it's your own making, God still is tender. He still cares, He still wants to engage with you, get you out of it - and through the experience, give you something to share with someone else who is in trouble.
It's horrible having a person saying to you: “I know how you feel” - and they haven't a clue how you feel; but when someone has been through a difficult experience, and they come alongside saying: “I understand how you feel” - and they've been there before, they really do understand your feelings, to some degree, when you share them. An important purpose of God comforting you, is so you'll be equipped to help someone else. God wants every believer helping others.