We all face times of inner pain and loss. Those are times when we need real comfort while our hearts heal. If you need comfort right now, this message is for you.
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This world is NOT an easy place in which to live, to work, nor certainly to minister.
Truth be told it is, in fact, a very difficult place.
Paul says he and his companions were afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. Not an easy life. (ARE THERE any easy lives??) Not totally, wherever you live and whether you’re rich or poor your heart will be broken and crushed at times.
Today’s verse gives us a promise we can hold onto — HE COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR TROUBLES
That’s true. God offers His comfort as we faces life’s heartbreaks. Part of the difficulty in life lies in the LOSSES we experience and the pain that those losses bring.
Not long ago, one of my brothers learned that the man whom God had used to help save his life had died. He is struggling with the feelings of loss. Last year the CEEC.CHURCH lost bishops, clergy and folks in our church family as they were promoted to new assignments in glory. But we felt the loss. It has now been two years since my Dad stepped into Christ’s presence. In each of these situations there is comfort in the knowledge of the glory they now experience, but still the pain and emotion of loss is great.
Perhaps the most painful of losses is felt when the cause of the loss is not death, but decision; when people you’ve loved and trusted decide to abandon you.
Recently I had to depose a priest from his Holy Orders for flagrant misconduct. He refused to listen to counsel. Our appeals for him to stop the sinful path he had set upon met with a hard heart and deaf ears. Literally begged by not one or two but three different bishops, still he insisted on abandoning his life to the lust of his flesh. Pleadings gave way to warnings, and a letter of inhibition was finally followed by his deposition. And my heart breaks. Not only for what we have lost, but for what he has abandoned; though he does not yet see it, he will.
Our HOPE and our COMFORT in all these things is God’s promise that He will swallow up death for all time, that God will wipe tears away from all faces. That in due course, He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth. Ahhh, the Lord has spoken; and He is our comfort. He will comfort and strengthen our hearts in every good work and word.
If you glance at the image of our scripture verse today, you’ll notice that the full verse says HE COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR TROUBLES SO THAT WE CAN COMFORT OTHERS
He comforts us. We comfort others. His life continues to flow into the broken hearts who need His touch of grace — and it flows through our expressions of grace and love. We who have been comforted know both the pain and the healing, so we are able to comfort those who can only see the pain right now.
The day is coming when the Lamb in the center of the throne will be our shepherd, and will guide us to springs of the water of life. Soon God will wipe every tear from the eyes of we who love Him so deeply. Soon, but not yet. Soon He will turn mourning into joy. Soon He will comfort us, exchanging joy for our sorrows.
Soon, but not yet. Until that day comes we are the channels of His grace, strength, love and healing. So let us comfort one another. Be deliberate about it. Let no one stand alone.