TEEN TREE OF LIFE
The God of All Comfort - Part 4
September 18, 2022
Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
As we close out this series, we’ll continue to look at some practical examples of our hope in Christ and how to bring practical comfort to others in times of hardship and need. We’ll start with Physical Affliction. This includes being sick or injured and can range from simply being hindered from functioning normally like when you have a bad cold, the flu, or a broken limb – to a catastrophic diagnosis such as cancer or an accident resulting in becoming a paraplegic.
The degree of response will normally vary with how debilitating the sickness or injury is, but expressions of sorrow and practical help are a wonderful way to comfort people. And they are always welcomed. They may range from a phone call or sending a get-well card, to visitation at the hospital, to practical measures such as cooking meals and cleaning the house for them, or talking with them about facing death.
The two key elements needed in these situations are pointing them to the fact that The Lord Jesus Christ has promised never to desert or forsake us. His Promise in Hebrews 13:5 (New American Standard Bible) assures us: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you…” You will also give them great comfort by telling them that in addition to Our Lord’s Promise, you care about them and will do whatever you can to help them get through the difficult time.
As the degree of sickness or injury worsens, it becomes more common for the one suffering to feel abandoned by God or even punished by Him for some unknown reason. Job is an example of this. His friend Elihu had to point out to Job that while none of them had any understanding of why Job was suffering, God remains the same and can always be trusted. So hope will ultimately be found in Him. Elihu proved by traveling to be with Job that he would be there with his friend as he went through very difficult times. Ultimately, our hope will be bound in a departure from the frailties and ills of this world to be given immortal and incorruptible bodies in which we will dwell with God forever. That’s a very comforting thing to know and one we should share with those facing death!
Now let’s look at Persecution. This can be difficult because it takes courage to join with or identify with someone being persecuted because it might easily spill over to us. But joining or identifying with someone being persecuted is the first response that will encourage that person. Stand with the persecuted. Certainly that is easier if those persecuted are a long way away in another land, yet even then, messages of standing with them and praying for them bring great comfort.
Practical measures for comforting the persecuted may include sending them messages, visiting them in jail, providing for their needs or even taking care of their families. That may be done personally if they are close or through an agency in a foreign land that can do it on your behalf.
Disappointment and Rejection are normal parts of life and they present many opportunities for comforting. Every person – whether they are believers nor non-believers – will experience disappointment and rejection. But Christians can comfort one another by pointing out The Lord Jesus Christ’s Promises of remaining faithful: If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 TIM 2:13 (New American Standard Bible) Think of how much this means!
Jesus Christ remains the same always as we are taught in HEB 13:8 (New International Reader’s Version): Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. It’s the world and those in it that change constantly. And He also understands everything we go through because no one who has ever walked on this earth has experienced as much disappointment and rejection as He has, yet He remains focused on others. This is how we, as Christians, should be. Think about it! If you spend your time comforting others, your focus is on them, not on any troubles you might have of your own.
In practical terms, you help others by personal involvement. If they are disappointed or feel rejected by you, then you need to ask for forgiveness (where appropriate) for any wrongs you may have done. You may also have to help them move away from any self-centeredness that could be making the problem worse. You do this by helping them to see that God wants them to move forward and this includes overcoming evil with good. Helping them to maintain a Godly perspective goes a long way in overcoming the debilitating effects of disappointment and rejection. A Godly perspective makes disappointment and rejection look like bumps in the road instead of washed-out bridges. Jesus’ disappointment in His disciples only led to a new lesson to teach them. Paul overcame his circumstances of being in jail and having others purposely seeking to add to his distress by keeping his eyes firmly fixed on his purpose of proclaiming Christ. His goal was to present every man complete in Christ and so he continued to teach, preach, encourage, rebuke, exhort and instruct with great patience. Look at what Paul wrote in COL 1:28 (New International Reader’s Version): Christ is the one we preach about. With all the wisdom we have, we warn and teach everyone. When we bring them to God, we want them to be like Christ. We want them to be grown up as people who belong to Christ. You could add, “We want them to be comforted” to this statement.
Loneliness is something we’ll all feel at some time in our lives. Jesus Christ promised that He would be with His disciples always – even to the end of the age and after that, He will be with all of us in Heaven for eternity. So no matter how lonely we may feel, we are never alone if we have Christ. In practical matters, if you know someone who is lonely, go to them and communicate with them. Spend time with them, if possible. Drag them out of their place of loneliness to do something. It would be great if you could get them to help you serve others or to help comfort those in need. That goes a long way in getting someone out of the depression of loneliness.
Fear is debilitating on many levels. The key theological solution to fear is found in 1 JOH 4:18 (New International Reader’s Version): There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear. That’s because fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect love. What this verse is teaching is that whatever the fear may be, it is solved by God’s Perfect Love. The idea here is that by remembering that God loves us with a Perfect Love, we should not be afraid of anything! This is because part of His Love involves taking care of us and keeping us safe. This is a comfort we can share with those who are afraid of certain things in their lives.
God proved His Love by The Sacrificial Death of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ proved all of His Claims about Himself, and that He will carry out every one of His Promises, by rising from the dead. In practical terms, you help others overcome their fears by pointing them to Christ and helping them to learn to trust His Promises.
Our God is the God of all comfort, and the comfort we receive from Him we can then pass on to others so that they too are comforted – encouraged and consoled – by His Precious and Magnificent Promises. The greater your own knowledge of God, the greater you will be able to comfort others, so continue to grow in knowledge. In practical terms, comfort comes from putting into practice all God’s Commands: love, build up, encourage, accept, give preference to, be of the same mind toward, confess, pray for, be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and serve. If you follow these commands, you will comfort those in your life and you will have comfort, too.