SCRIPTURES: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
BOTTOM LINE: In the meantime, comfort others w/ the comfort we ourselves have recieved from God. If you’ve been there, you are uniquely qualified to comfort those who are still there.
QUESTION: Where is God using you to Comfort others?
DOWNLOAD: What do we do when there is nothing else we can do?
#1 In over 20 years of ministry … and 1 of the things I’ve learned and 1 of the things I’ve seen over and over again is this idea called The Fellowship of Suffering …
There’s just a natural bond between those who have suffered deeply … and similarly … and you don’t even have to know their name … there’s just something natural between people who have suffered deeply … and it’s incredibly powerful if our suffering is similar …
… and as a Pastor … and as a friend [even a close friend or family member] … we can do & say some things … and we can try to be there … but when a person who is suffering deeply meets someone who ahs suffered deeply in a similar way … there’s just a thing that happens that goes beyond Education … and it goes beyond Spiritual Knowledge & Theology … and there’s a Fellowship of Suffering.
#2 Another unique thing about The Fellowship of Suffering … is that those who have suffered are uniquely qualified to comfort those who are suffering … and I’ve seen this 1,000 times … [and so have some of you guys] … those who have suffered in the past … and those who have been thru some In the Meantime seasons … and some are actually still walking thru them at the moment … and yet somehow you’re getting used to it … and it’s become as we said in #Week1 The New Normal for you …
… those who have suffered are uniquely qualified to comfort those who are suffering … you’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt … and when you walk into the room to comfort someone who is still there … something very, very powerful takes place!
#3 And another thing I’ve learned in this idea of The Fellowship of Suffering … is a little complicated at first … but it’s where we’re going to camp out today … and that’s this … COMFORT from those who have been comforted, is LIFE-GIVING to those who need comfort!
#4 But here’s the surprise … and I think we all either have or will experience this at some point … but Comforting is actually Life-Giving to the Comforter as well. Serving in the role of Comforter actually brings life to the person that’s giving the Comfort …
And when we’ve have walked in that very, very dark place in our own life … and now God has collided our lives w/ someone else who’s facing what we faced … and we see someone beginning to deal w/ what we’re already dealing with … [or dealt with at some point] … it’s Life-Giving not only to the person being comforted .. but it’s Life-Giving to the comforter too!
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 … “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
So … to summarize this entire Principle In the Meantime … comfort those who need comforting with the comfort we have received!
And as I was getting ready for today … I was reminded of several different ways I’ve seen this Principle lived out amongst our people … sometimes in HUGE ways … other times not so big … but as I was putting this together for today, several of those came to mind …
So I just wanna share a few of them with you … because these are the kinds of stories that help me take the real like situations we live in … and the real life circumstances we experience everyday … and see them living out this Principle in Action … and as a Pastor I get to see this all the time.
That’s one of the incredible blessings about what I get to do … but these stories remind us that this stuff just isn’t words on a page … but it’s a Real Principle … and it makes a huge difference as it brings Purpose to our Pain … and it can really help us answer the question … Why in the world has this happened? Why would God allow this to happen? And is there any way to see anything good come from all of this?
If we have been there … we’ve been uniquely qualified to comfort those who are still there … and it brings Purpose to our Pain … and it’s Life-Giving … both to us and to those w/ whom we share …
And so if we’re in an In the Meantime season right now, we’ll be tempted to believe:
- … we’ll never be happy again
- … nothing good can come from this
- … and there’s no point in continuing
… and none of those could be further from the truth … and back in the 1st Century, the Christians in Philippi … and they had lots and lots of questions … and Paul made them the same Promise God makes to us as well … and that was this … Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
And part of that good work for many of us includes some In the Meantime seasons … and God is using the adversity we’re facing … and yet He continues to be at work in us … and we don’t need to Give up hope … and regardless of what we’re facing … we are now uniquely positioned and uniquely equipped to take someone else the very comfort that God has given us …