Sunday, April 17, 2011

Receive Comfort – Give Comfort

 In the weeks leading up to Easter, my Sunday School lessons have been on grief.  My pastor did a sermon series on marriage.  Needless to say, I wanted to skip church all together until both of these topics had been exhausted.  However, I am very active in my church, as it brings me so much joy to be in the house of the Lord, to sing in the choir, and to worship collectively with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  So deliberately missing church is a foreign concept for me.  My pastor completely understood my need to miss the marriage sermons.  I did try…attending a few…but it was too much.  However, the Sunday School lessons on grief were actually a great comfort.  I got to share with my class my insights and struggles.  I also learned a lot from them.  Below are some gems of wisdom I gathered from the lessons.

  • No matter what the circumstances, God will provide the resources I need.
  • God’s power means no circumstance can steal the joy and peace I have in Christ.
  • Because HOPE is focused on the living Christ, I have confidence.  I also have the opportunity to show hope to others.
  • Rather than majoring on my pain and frustrations, I need to manage things with God’s approaches. (Phil 4:8, 1 Peter 2:1)
  • I need to turn my worry into concrete actions.  When I need help, I need to ask for it.  I must seek God’s direction and follow each turn. (1 John 3:18)
  • Investing in other people will help me take my eyes off my own pain.  Encouraging others in their needs will help me deal with my own needs. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  • Troubles, difficulties, and even suffering cannot stop goodness.  I can choose to be good, to do good, and to find good.
  • I can grieve with hope.  Jesus grieved (John 11:35-36), so I know grief is good when done well.  Jesus’s tears demonstrated that my grieving is okay…and that it is unhealthy to bury my grief.  There are seasons for grieving…and this is my season.
  • God is the source of all my comfort. God gives His own presence.  Sometimes He also offers a person or a memory to comfort me.  Sometimes His comfort is strength to move on, a strategy for managing, or a motivation to doggedly put one foot in front of the other and persevere (Isaiah, 40:31).
  • God does not comfort me just to make me feel more comfortable.  God expects me to pass along to others the comfort I receive from Him.
  •  Satan is the father of lies.  Confusingly, Satan sometimes masquerades as offering comfort.  However the “comfort” that Satan offers will leave me feeling empty and needing even more comfort.
  • Prayer is a powerful resource, not only during my time of grief, but also in my reaching out to be a comfort to others.  When I am talking to God, I am more open to hearing God’s ways to help others or myself.

So…take comfort when you need it.  Give comfort to others always.


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