Friday, April 13, 2018

COMFORT AND DELIVERANCE




We endure almost unbearable pain so that we might experience our Lord’s comfort and deliverance:

·       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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV)

God transforms the greatest sufferers into the greatest comforters. It is they who have sought the comfort of the Lord, have found it, and can now share it with others. In Christ, we are both sufferers and comforters, and the Body of Christ needs both.

The baboon colony needs both to bond and to produce a cohesive group. Their furry coats are home to tics, lice, and other predators. They suffer and, as a consequence, they groom one another. This builds community and strong ties.

Without threat and the fears it brings, we cannot know our Lord as our Deliverer:

·       Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:18-21)

Even when it seems that prayer is no more than a string of words, just wait for the Lord to deliver and prepare to be amazed by the “way of escape” He provides:

·       Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

Don’t be surprised that you cannot stand without Him. Neither be discouraged. Just wait and see the deliverance of the Lord.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah could not fathom how his weak nation could possibly be delivered from the massive invading armies. The threat was so great that all Jerusalem – men, women, and children – assembled to cry out to the Lord:

·       And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’” (2 Chronicles 20:14-15)

Our Lord gloriously delivered them. They did not even have to fight! Instead, they sang in anticipation of the Lord’s deliverance.

Paul too was to be a great sufferer, as God had explained to Ananias:

·       But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he [Paul] is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9:15-16)

However, through this, Paul was molded into a great comforter, and so are we!

1 comment:

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