Summary: The second in a series of three sermons dealing with the hurts in life and how God expects us to handle them.
Driving through Texas, a New Yorker collided with a truck carrying a horse. A few months later he tried to collect damages for his injuries. "How can you now claim to have all these injuries?" asked the insurance company’s lawyer. "According to the police report, at the time you said you were not hurt." "It’s like this," said the New Yorker. "I was lying in the road in a lot of pain, and I heard someone say the horse had a broken leg. The next thing I know the sheriff pulled out his gun and shot the horse. Then he turned to me and said, "Are you okay?"
I want to ask you that question today, “Are you okay?” Most of us would respond without even thinking, “Yes, I’m okay.” But are you? Are you really okay with all that has happened in your life, or all that is going on in your life? Truth be told, there is probably some hurt and pain in your life, some trials and tribulations, some struggles and strife. And even though we think we are doing okay, we are merely surviving.
Many of us are trapped in our hurts. We try to free ourselves from it, using our own methods, yet we still find ourselves unable to escape the pain. We wonder if there is ever freedom from the hurt.
This morning, we are going to continue the series entitled Hope for the Hurting and look at 2 Corinthians 1:4-7. Remember last week, we said that there were three aspects for overcoming the hurts in life. Last week, we saw the first aspect. Does anyone remember what it was? We must turn to God first. Why? He is the father of compassion and the God of all comfort. This week, we are going to follow it up and see the second aspect to overcoming hurts in life.
Let’s read that section together, it’s on page 1208 of your pew bible if you don’t have one of your own. In fact, we will read verses 3 through 7.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 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. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Now, here’s the second aspect of hope for the hurting; when you are hurting turn to other believers.
Verses 3-4a (and I purposefully did not look at that verse last week because I didn’t want you to read ahead) tells us that we are to turn to God first, because he will comfort us in our troubles. But notice why he comforts us. It’s in verse 4. So we can comfort those who are in trouble.
God never gives us anything just for our benefit only. No, he gives us things and he blesses us for the express purpose of benefiting and blessing others as well. It is why he blesses us with many spiritual blessings, so that we can in turn be a blessing to others. If you look in your bulletin it is your spiritual thought for the week. Listen carefully to 2 Corinthians 9: 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
The word “Trouble” in verse 4 refers to crushing pressure, because in Paul’s life and ministry there was always something attempting to weaken him, restrict or confine his ministry, or even crush out his life.
Have any of you ever experienced that in your life? Crushing pressure—attempting to weaken you, restrict you, even destroy you? Most of us have, but the great thing is, God comforts us.
I want you to think back in your life, look over your life this morning with me for a brief moment. Has God ever brought you through a dark valley in your life? A time when all hope seemed lost? At the time you were going through it, you felt such despair and wondered how you would ever survive. Yet God got you through. Can you think of a time like that? Let me ask you a question this morning. Do you think that is the only time God has ever done that for someone, or even for you? The answer is “Of course not.”