Rediscovering Gospel Comfort in the Face of Trials
There is one thing that believers and unbelievers alike can agree on. Life is not always easy. Hardships, trials, and tragedies happen to all. Nobody is immune. We have all experienced them or been close to those who have.
The believer though has a tremendous advantage: Whatever we go through, God is there to comfort us. Paul exclaimed in 2 Corinthians 1:3, ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort.”
God does not practice social distancing. He is right there with us, arms around us. We are snuggled in His care. That is the tremendous comfort of the gospel. Jesus with us – always.
His purpose though is bigger than just comforting us. He wants us to comfort others. The comforted to become the comforters. The passage continues, “who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we are ourselves are comforted by God.”
How does He comfort us so that we can in turn comfort others?
I think three reminders are instrumental in helping us to rediscover the comfort of gospel and share it with others.
When trials are out of your control, they are still under His control.
As believers, we are personally related to the One who is never caught by surprise. We are told in Deuteronomy 4:39, “Therefore know this day and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and earth beneath; there is no other.”
Although He is not the cause of our hardship, nothing comes in and through our lives that He does not allow. When we deem everyone and everything out of control, He is in control. Is it not interesting how God in those two verses uses the words “all” and “any”? “Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.” Never is He out of touch, unaware of anything we are going through. Knowing that something is beyond us but not beyond Him is a comfort. He is not caught unaware.
When things are out of control we are personally related to the One who is in control.
Why though is that such a source of comfort?
The God who is in control is the One who died for us, and would never do us wrong.
Never is there any evil intent in what God allows. James 1:13 makes that abundantly clear. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt any man.”
Now here is our opportunity to present the gospel. The person who is in control is the One who died for us. Someone who would die for us would never do us wrong. We can share the hardships we have gone through or are going though at the moment and explain how painful they have been. In a transparent and testimonial way we can also explain how we are tempted to think, “Why would He allow this?” We don’t know but we are comforted by the cross and the truth of Romans 5:8, ”But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This is our opportunity to explain that Christ did not merely die for us, He died for them. As our substitute He took the punishment we deserved and rose again. Through personal trust in Him alone, we receive His free gift of eternal life. What an opportunity to explain the gospel!
But gratefully, that is not where our comfort stops.
Whatever comfort we need as we go through trials, He is there.
Once God saves us, His presence indwells us 24/7. He feels our pain and understands our suffering. As believers, we personally experience the truth of Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The One who can comfort us the best, is there the most.
That is one reason we do not have to fret and worry like someone who does not know the Lord. The One in control, who let His Son die for us, is there to provide whatever we need to get us through the affliction. If it is added strength and hope, He is there. If it is something material, He knows how to provide. We go through it with our Savior and best friend by our side.
For those who know the Lord, the gospel is a comfort in the midst of trials and has an inward and outward direction about it. He comforts us and then encourages us to comfort others. As we explain what He has done on our lives, we have opportunity to explain what He can do in theirs.
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