Messy Grace One: The God of All Comfort
Topic: Comfort Passage: 2 Corinthians 1:1–1:11
Grace Community Church
Sept. 20, 2020
Paul says they were utterly burdened beyond their strength. I think the NIV captures the meaning better: We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.
Maybe the Revised Version is even better: 8 We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.
Paul and his team faced afflictions to the point that they were “utterly burdened”, “under great pressure”, “utterly, unbearably crushed”. The press of afflictions were so great they despaired of life. The pain went so deep, and so far beyond their ability to endure, they thought they would die.
And at that point, when Paul came to the end of his strength, when he had nothing left in the tank, God had him where He wanted him. God’s purpose for the press of afflictions weren’t to kill Paul but to bring him to the end of himself. Verse 9:
But that [the pressure, the unbearable crush] was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.
They got to the end of themselves and found God. Paul learned not to rely on himself, but on God. The grace in the crush was learning to rely on God and seeing God deliver him.
For the Christian there’s a beauty in affliction, there’s a grace in being utterly crushed.
Maybe you’re going through something now that’s pressing down on your heart and what’s coming out is pretty messy. We can’t avoid affliction all our lives. At some point – probably at many points – we will suffer. We will be heartbroken. We will be crushed. We will come to the end of our strength.
It’s then we can experience God’s comfort, and learn to rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. Even death doesn’t end it when God’s involved. If death can’t kill our hope then certainly nothing short of hope can.
Comfort brings hope to our souls, and hope brings comfort to our souls.
One way we can come alongside and comfort one another is by praying for one another. There is great comfort in knowing someone is praying for you when you’re going through a hard time. One, it says that they care. And that’s comforting. And two, there’s power in prayer. God hears prayer. God answers prayer.
Let me close with this encouragement.
Sometimes when someone is going through a hard time, we don’t know what to say, so we avoid them. Let’s come along side of them with words of encouragement and courage. Comfort. Sometimes when the press is on, and someone’s life gets really messy – they don’t look like the perfectly put together Christian, we can be tempted to write them off.
God doesn’t. We shouldn’t. Let’s come alongside. Let’s pray. Let’s comfort. Let’s be a vessel of God’s courage poured into them. And when we’re afflicted let’s allow God to do that in our lives through our brothers and sisters.
More in Messy Grace: Second Corinthians
October 11, 2020When Enough is Enough - The Grace of Forgiveness
October 4, 2020Motives, Mindset, and Ministry in the Middle of Relational Mess
September 27, 2020All The Promises Of God Are Yes In Christ