Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pressured To Comfort by Martin Wiles

Series: Perfected By Pressure
“I know how you feel.” I’ve said it to people experiencing crises and I’ve had others repeat it to me. While my intentions were honorable, I didn’t really know how they felt. Neither did they completely understand my pain.

The statement seems to naturally slip out when we don’t know what else to say. While we all experience grief differently and have unique experiences, pressure does equip us to comfort others and is one of God’s teaching tools.

Corinth was a bustling trade center with thousands of sailors and merchants visiting yearly. The city developed a reputation as one of the most immoral cities in the ancient world and hosted numerous pagan temples where idol worship and immorality were encouraged.

Christians living in Corinth faced many pressures and conflicts. Paul comforted them by telling them their trouble had purpose. He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others (II Corinthians 1:4 NLT).

I’m not a fan of pressures, and I often gauge God’s comfort by whether he makes them go away-not by what usefulness I gain by experiencing them. But if God’s comfort entailed always making the trouble vanish, I’d only turn to him to relieve my pain not because I loved him and was searching for profit in the pain. God won’t allow troubles to overwhelm us, but he will leave the trouble long enough for our faith and courage to grow and for us to develop a compassionate heart for others who are experiencing similar life pressures. Redeem your troubles by letting God teach you how to more effectively show his love to others.

Prayer: God of mercy, give us strength to endure our troubles with the assurance You’ll use them to help us be more effective comforters.

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