1 Cor.1.3-7.Comfort God Brings
THE COMFORT GOD BRINGS
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
January 31, 2000BFuneral: Annie Silas
by James A. Bing
One of Alfred Tennyson=s poems describes how the death of her husband in war emptied a woman=s life of all that gave it meaning. Then someone brought her child and laid him on her knee and then she realized that she still had something to live for, the care and training of her child. A sense of purpose returned to fill the gap left by the tragic death of her husband.
The things which can do this for us are numerous, and many of them we can thank God for. But the best way of escape from grief and despair is to fix our minds on higher things.
Many think that when God comforts us, our troubles should go away. But if that were always so, people would turn to God only out of a desire to be relieved of pain and not out of love for Him.
Comfort in the true sense is that which gives us strength to face life with courage and hope. It opens to us the resources of God, for there alone we can find strength. Strength comes from the assurance that God is standing by and that in Him we have all that we need to meet life courageously.
But more often, this assurance of God=s presence, and His comfort, is a matter of faith. God may not change our situation or smooth our way, but He changes us, and gives us the confidence we need for meeting each situation as it comes. God changes people, not circumstances. He responds to our obedience to His will and gives us strength for the difficult road if we meet His requirements.
In Deuteronomy 33:25 we read: AAs your days, so shall your strength be.@ This was the promise God gave to the people of Israel when they set forth to make a home for themselves in the Land of Promise. God=s promise is that the strain will bring the strength.
This confidence is the root of the courage to meet life in the kind of hope that renews the spirit. Situations are not changed for us but they are often changed through us, and God stands by to help us and guide us. This is our consolation when the going gets tough! AMy God,@ said Paul, Awill supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus@ (Philippians 4:19).
The answers of God are always the answers of perfect love. There is a rainbow in every cloud that darkens our sky, and what we really need is to be able to see it.
But the way to the deepest comfort of God in our affliction is to look outward and not inward. This is a commonplace of Christian living. The first disciples of Jesus discovered this when after the Resurrection, Christ sent them out to tell the story of his rising again to the world around them. Christ died on the Cross that He might live in us and that we might live through Him!
And He has left us this Word of Comfort: AFor our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal@ (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
God knows, and understands when your...sorrow becomes great...heart becomes broken...valleys become lonely...feelings become hurt...pain becomes unbearable...! He not only knows and understands, He also cares!
And He can turn your... valleys into victories...burdens into blessings...tears into triumphs...gloom into glory...weakness into strength...and your...heartaches into hallelujahs...!