Comfort in Times of Trouble
21 April 2013
· Key Verse: Rom. 15:4 “For whatever things were written before, were written for our learning. That we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope”.
· Every one of us experience seasons of pressure, difficulty, pain – no one is exempt.
· Possible sources:
Marriage Financial setbacks Conflicts Severe sickness
Family Criticism Disappointments Redundancy
Broken friendships Injustice Betrayals Opposition
· Jn 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.
2. Why We Need Comfort
(i) Hurt feelings affect our thinking and cause us to lose perspective.
· When you are in pain you don’t think straight and tend to isolate (Prov.18:1)
(ii) Our own sinful nature leads us to isolate and find comfort in unhealthy ways.
- Alcohol, drugs, entertainment, relationships, pornography, distractions e.g. Gen.27:42 and 2 Sam. 4:1
(iii) Satan actively seeks to isolate us during painful seasons of our life.
- He wants to separate us from a loving God and loving people.
- He wants to torment us with loss of hope, depression, loss of value, loneliness.
· Prov. 18:1 “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire, he rages against all wise judgement.”
3. God’s Nature is to Comfort Us
· 2 Cor. 1:3-4 “…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we might be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
(a) The Nature of God – what He is like!
· Father of Mercies – NT3268 to have a deep compassion for those suffering.
· God of all comfort – NT3874 to come alongside to bring comfort, consolation, understanding.
· Whatever painful or distressing situation we face God expresses His compassion by coming alongside us to comfort and strengthen us.
· God’s nature is to come alongside not to abandon (Heb.13:5 “I will never leave you”.
· God has tender feelings towards us – He is attentive to our trouble and distress.
(b) The Actions of God – what He Does!
· God is willing to comfort us in all our painful situations.
· God wants us to experience the reality of His comfort personally.
· God intends us to be a source of His comfort to others in pain or trouble.
· Painful experiences are used by God to deepen our faith and prepare us to serve others.
· Jn.14:16 “I will pray to the Father and He will give you another (of the same kind) comforter that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of Truth.”
4. The Comfort of the Scriptures
· Rom. 15:4 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
· Other people in history have experienced pressures, difficulties, pain and opposition. (1 Cor.10:13)
· God’s Word has Recorded their Experiences with God for our Benefit
(i) Learn from the experience of others what God is like.
(ii) Look at life from God’s perspective and change thinking.
- May not be able to change our circumstances but we can change how we think and respond.
(iii) Experience the presence and comfort of God through His Word.
(iv) Overcome despair and look ahead with fresh hope – anticipate with pleasure or
- How Does This Happen?
(i) Receiving comfort from the Scriptures.
(ii) Exercising patience – your choice how you will behave.
- Continue to walk with God
- Persevere in doing what is right.
- Exercise faith in God that He will keep His Word.
5. Practical Application
How to receive comfort from the Scriptures:
(i) Use Scripture Verses you already know
(i.e. Heb 4:12 “God’s Word is living and powerful”)
- Read the verse aloud Examples
- Personalise the verses Is.40:27-31
- Speak it aloud - repeat (Eph..6:17) Is.41:10
- Picture it as you speak it Is.43:1-4
- Embrace its truth into your heart Ps.34:17-19 Ps 23
(ii) Expect the Holy Spirit to ‘quicken’ a Scripture
(Jer. 15:16 “Your Words were found and I ate them …”
- Ask Holy Spirit to speak to you.
- Read the Bible with expectation. E.g. Psalms, Proverbs
- Does any verse “stand out”, draw attention?
- Speak it aloud over your life (as above).
- Keep looking if nothing immediately apparent.
(iii) Look for God in the Bible Stories of adversity
Read the story over several times Example: Mark 4:35
- Picture the story – enquire - What did the person face?
- What did they feel? - How did God respond?
- What can I learn about God? - Turn the story into prayer.