Comfort in Times of Trouble (2)
28 April 2013
· Key Verse: 2 Cor. 1:3-4 “…The Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves are comforted of God.”
· Every one of us experience seasons of pressure, difficulty, pain – no one is exempt.
· A key issue that arises is isolation and with it loss of perspective.
· God is willing to enter our world and comfort us –
last week: Comfort of the Scriptures Rom.15:4.
· One important purpose – “that we may be able to comfort those in trouble”.
2. The Comfort Question
· Can you recall as a child being comforted during a time of emotional distress?
i.e. someone connected with you, listened to you and understood your feelings and reassured you?
· If the answer is ‘No’ – how did you handle pain?
a) Isolate and comfort self? B) React with anger, blame?
· Comfort =NT3870= to call near.
To come alongside you when you are in pain and distress and provide reassurance and hope. God’s response is always a relational response to reassure and bring hope.
3. Things You Should NOT Say
· 1 Sam. 23:16 “Jonathan, Saul’s son arose and went to David in the wood and strengthened his hand in God.”
· Many Christians try to help others in distress and end up increasing their pain.
· Sincerity is not enough – we must know how to exhort – how to comfort.
· Common things people say and do:
(i) Don’t worry – soon pass! (ix) You need more faith
(ii) Don’t worry – get over it! (x) Praise the Lord anyway!
(iii) Not that bad really! (xi) We all have days like that!
(iv) That’s nothing compared to my problem!
(v) Joke and make light of it! (xii) You shouldn’t feel that way!
(vi) Must be due to sin! (xiii) God is dealing with you!
(vii) You are right you have been treated badly!
(viii) Invade the person’s space. (xiv) Excessive talking.
· None of these things help – they actually increase pain and isolation.
· Note what Jonathan did to comfort David (vs16-17) and strengthen him.
(i) He connected intentionally (v16)
(ii) He addressed his emotions (v17) – He understood what David was feeling
(iii) He directed him to the promise (word) of God (v17)
(iv) He reassured him of his support (v17).
4. Key Ingredients of Comfort
· 2 Cor. 1:4 “…that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort we ourselves are comforted of God.”
· We are not called to rescue people or cure their problems but to care and comfort.
· Every believer can do this!
(i) Intentional Connection
· Comfort = to call near, to come alongside because you care.
· Initiate a connection with the person you wish to comfort.
· Don’t wait for people to come to you – initiate connection with them.
e.g. Lk.24:15 “Jesus himself drew near and went with them.”
Jesus made connection where they were and joined them on their journey.
e.g. Mk.1:41 “Jesus moved with compassion put forth his hand and touched him.”
· Be sensitive not intrusive.
(ii) Listen from Your Heart
· Prov.18:13 “He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.”
(a) Ask questions that draw out both the facts and the feelings behind them.
· Good questions that leave room for open response can open the heart.
· Gen.3:9 “Where are you?” this is a relational question.
· Where are you in your life? Relationships? Marriage? Finances?
· God asked a set of questions and listened carefully to Adam’s answers.
(b) Draw out the Feelings and Emotions
· Lk.24:17 “What are you sad about?”
· Help people identify and express what they feel – soul words.
· Emotions can distort how people think – draw out what they are feeling.
· It helps clean the souls when a person speaks aloud what they are feeling.
· Reflect back to people what you hear them saying and the feelings emerge.
(c) Guide them to put their trust in God and His Word
· Is. 50:4
· Share how God has helped you during a difficult season/experience.
· The comfort God gave you is not just for you it is for others.
· Acts 11:23 “… he exhorted (comfort) them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord.”
(d) Reassure them of Your Support
· We cannot carry others but we can stand with them and help break their feelings of isolation.
· Each person makes their own decisions about how they will respond.