Date: April 23, 2017
Speaker: Bob Hall
Text: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Most of you know by now that my grandnephew Simon Parsons passed away a week ago on Good Friday. He had been fighting a very aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. God answered our prayers in that he was not in great pain and was lucid until very near the end. Simon had trusted in the Lord Jesus several years ago and was expectant concerning his entrance into his heavenly home. He was 13 years old when he passed.
Simon was the oldest son of my sister Linda and her husband Kevin’s oldest daughter Chrissy and her husband Mike. They, too, have professed faith in Christ, but in recent years along with all but the youngest of Kevin and Linda’s five children, have turned away from the Lord. Of course, this has made it difficult to minister to them in that they do not want to hear the best words of comfort that can be given. It is heartbreaking to witness them going through this without the comfort of the Lord, and my sister and Kevin rarely feeling free to speak of these things. Much prayer is needed for them – that God would overwhelm their hurt and bitterness with His love and draw them to Himself!
We found out yesterday that Simon’s services will be Sunday in Roundtop, Texas. We will head out early Sunday and miss being with our church family. Pray that Pat and I will have just the right words of comfort for the family as we spend time with them. It is such a blessing to know that our church family “has our back” as we approach even the most difficult of situations.
I have asked Bob Hall to preach in the service this morning. He will bring a message proclaiming the comfort of the believer, a message that is greatly needed at a time such as this with the loss of Simon, Max Hill and others.
The word “comfort” is the word in Greek that is translated “encourage,” “exhort,” and “urge” in other passages. It is the root form of the word Paraklete or “comforter” used when Jesus describes the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. It conveys the idea that the one who brings comfort or encouragement comes alongside the one who is suffering to help supply the very thing they may need in the moment.
This comfort begins with God who is described as the God of all comfort. Since He perfectly knows what the hurting one needs, and has every needed resource, He is able to help in ways no one else can. The Holy Spirit who indwells us is particularly well-suited to meet this need. But it does not stop there. He comforts us so that we may comfort others.
Pat and I are good examples. We know the pain of losing a child. We have experienced the comfort that God brings in the midst of the pain and sorrow of that loss. We have a resource to help others in this area because we have been through it. God has given many opportunities since our loss in 2010 to offer comfort to others who have been through the same thing.
Times such as these provide clear and important reminders of our need for the Lord and His all sufficient comfort. May we receive it freely from His hand every time we need it. May we be reminded that having freely received, we have the wonderful privilege to freely offer that same comfort to others in their hour of need.
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