“But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us.” 2Co 7:6 NIV You say, “Surely Paul was too spiritually mature to feel downcast?” Apparently not! The chief apostle and leader of the church experienced discouragement, stress, restlessness, and even fears. “When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn't settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn't relax because we didn't know how it would turn out” (vv. 5-6 TM). So, where do we turn for strength in our times of trouble? Consider some ways God sends us comfort and encouragement: (1) He comforts us by His presence. “Now may…God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing” (2Th 2:16-17 NLT). It’s God’s nature to be with us, to give us comfort when we’re mourning (See Mt 5:4); brokenhearted (See Ps 147:3); overwhelmed (See Ps 145:14); worried (See Is 41:10); sick (See Ps 41:3). But we must acknowledge His presence and accept His comfort! (2) He comforts us by His Word. “Remember what you said to me, your servant—I hang on to these words for dear life! These words hold me up in bad times; yes, your promises rejuvenate me” (Ps 119:49-50 TM). (3) He comforts us through our prayers. “The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength” (Ps 138:3 TM). (4) He comforts us through godly friends. Paul writes: “God…comforted us by the coming of Titus.” Today, look for those who bring comfort, and practice comforting others.
Published on Sunday, May 26, 2013 @ 8:57 AM CDT