Receive to Give!

A while ago I was talking to a young man (let’s call him Sam) who experienced a great disappointment. As a believer, Sam loved Jesus, but his heart felt the heavy weight of discouragement. These questions kept surfacing in his mind: Why did I have to go through this? Why didn’t God answer my prayer? Spiritual confusion led to an abundance of self-pity. How can we help others who are disappointed with life…and with God? Well, let’s try to imagine a life without any problems or challenges. Would there be any need for faith? Would we see our need of God or have compassion for anyone else? The Bible helps us with these questions. The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to believers in Corinth who struggled with many issues. Life was going very well. Here is how Paul reconciled the reality of suffering with the will of God. He wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). God is not aloof in our struggles. He doesn’t take pleasure in the disappointments we face. The clear truth here is: God wants to comfort us! For this to happen, we must step off the treadmill of self-pity and reach out to the Lord in faith. Jesus was acquainted with persecution at the hands of those who hated Him—as well as disappointments from those who loved Him. Yet, He committed himself to the One who is just, and who is able to keep what is committed to Him. We must admit that in our difficulties we grow more in our faith and learn more about God than we ever could if life were always smooth sailing. As we ask God for help, His Spirit does a deep work in us and renews our perspective on life. He reminds us that we live in a fallen rebellious world where most people are suppressing the truth instead of embracing it. As God comforts us, we “rediscover” our true source of hope and strength…the Lord himself! Also, our trials serve an amazing purpose…not just for us but also for others. As we receive God’s comfort, we are then given the ability to comfort others! Has God sent someone to you who “happens” to be going through what you just experienced? You would never know how to help someone else if your faith was never challenged. So, look at your disappointments not as the period at the end of a sentence, but, rather, as a comma that leads you into the unknown adventure of faith! Keep trusting, keep receiving comfort, and keep giving what God has given you!

Pastor Mark Boucher

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