Summary: He comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we

How Do You Respond During Times of Trouble? (2 Corinthians 1:4)

"He comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Cor. 1:4)

Illustration: A Butterfly: A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly.

He took a pair of scissors and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. Something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the small opening of the cocoon are God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.

If God allowed us to go through all our life without any obstacles, that would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Not only that, we could never fly.

Illustration: A reporter once asked Carnegie how he had hired 43 millionaires. Carnegie responded that those men had not been millionaires when they started working for him, but had become millionaires as a result. The reporter’s next question was, "How did you develop these men to become so valuable to you that you have paid them this much money?"

Carnegie replied that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt. One goes in

looking for gold.

Is not that the way our Lord looks at us? "He knows we are only dust (dirt)" (Psalm 103:14, NLT), but He sees more than that in us. He looks beyond the dirt and sees what is actually greater than gold -- that

which He is refining by the tests of faith that come to us in this world. He is preparing us for eternity.

"These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).

Thank God that when He looks at us in His eternal perspective through the blood-stained glasses, stained by the blood of Jesus, He does not see our dirt, but sees something more precious than gold.

The following are some suggested responses to afflictions:

1. Let the Lord take away the pain of your afflictions. He is the Father of sympathy. He pities us in our weakness. He showers us with mercy and goodness all the days of our life. We can sing of the mercy of the Lord forever. His comfort is a balm that heals us from every hurt and sooths our nerves and calms our emotions. He reduces stress with the peace that passes understanding so that our hearts and minds are guarded in Christ Jesus. Paul writes, "Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."2 Cor. 1 :4,5)

"Being unwilling to listen to God in certain areas may make it hard to hear God in other areas." Let us be willing to do God’s will in all areas of life.

One Pastor refused to minister to the poor and homeless until he was willing to listen to God in areas outside of his comfort zone. Listen to God in all areas so you are not guilty of presumptuousness

2. Believe that the Lord will use the affliction for a greater good. Paul writes, "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes. (Rom. 8:28)

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