Feb 24, 2019
2 Corinthians 1:3-11
How do you get through moments like this?
You might not need this message right now, but at some point, in your life, you will experience affliction and the sorrow that accompanies it. It may be the death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis, a prodigal child, a broken marriage, the pain and struggle of addiction, and there are many more we could mention, that afflicts the soul. The brokenness of this world leaves no one unscathed.
And when those moments of affliction and sorrow come, how do you move forward? How are we, as the children of God, to respond?
He empathizes with our pain.
When Jesus’s good friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. When Jesus was praying in the garden before His arrest and eventual crucifixion, He was afflicted.
“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.” And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:38-39
“In My distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.” Psalm 18:6
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:7
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Your law is more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.). Psalm 119:67, 71-72
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We can trust that God is merciful in that the pain we experience is not without purpose; it is never wasted. It would be a merciless thing if the pain we suffered, as children of God, did not ultimately result in His glory and our good. But according to His word, the sufferings of this life don’t come close to comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promise gives me life.” Psalm 119:50
He may not feel near, but He is.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort Me.” Psalm 23:4
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 41:1b-3a
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Romans 12 speaks of rejoicing with one another and weeping with those who weep.
You need people who love Jesus and who love you to be present. That’s why being a part of the body of Christ is God’s design. We need one another. Paul makes that clear in 1 Corinthians 12 when he speaks about the Church being like a body. He said, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (v. 26). The body of Christ is to be the tangible, visible presence of Jesus to the world, and in the case of those among us who are afflicted and suffering we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus.