Summary: So how do we become strong in the broken places? 1. Look to God who cares for me. I can run to God in worship. God is worthy of our worship. 2. Seek to offer compassion to others 3. Continue to hope in the God of all comfort
This is us: Supportive in Grief
comfort: more than just soothing or sympathy,
but also to strengthen, help and encouragement.
So how do we become strong in the broken places?
1. Look to God who cares for me. vv.3
I can run to God in worship. v.3
God is worthy of our worship.
2. Seek to offer compassion to others v.4 & 5 (on screen)
3. Continue to hope in the God of all comfort. v.7 (on screen)
hope: the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness
There’s noting like grief and suffering to test where your hope lies. Paul’s hope was
Turn to 2 Corinthians 1:1-7. We continue our series: This is Us. Our lives often unfold like an emotional drama full of love, joy, triumph, and heartbreak. As the church, we exist to step into the struggles and bring peace and hope in the name of Jesus. This is what drives and motivates us. This is us!
Week one we looked at what defines us here at RC and that is intentional parenting. The best and most satisfied of parents are those who are intentional in their parenting. Last week we talked about marriage. Resilient marriages are those who recognize and accept God’s purpose for marriage. If you missed either of these two, you can catch up by going to our website to watch the video, or FB Live, or downloading our podcasts.
This morning we are going to talk about the grief and sorrow that inevitably comes our way in this life. Grief and sorrow come to us from different sources: a 7th grade girl gets ignored and excluded by a group of kids that she would love to be a part of; a high school boy gets shut down by the girl he has a crush on; an adult loses their job after years of long and faithful service; a parent loses a child; a marriage falls apart, a widow stands at the grave of her loved one.
A few years ago, Yeshiva University neuroscientist Lucy Brown and her research team distributed flyers across several campuses in the New York area to recruit participants for a brain-imaging study. The flyers had one sentence highlighted: "Have you just been rejected in love but can't let go?" Soon enough, Brown recalls, she had college students—who were asked to bring a photo of their beloved with them—crying in the brain scanner. The brains of the forlorn study subjects looked a lot like drug addicts looking for a fix. Brown concluded, "In retrospect, it's not surprising that the same areas of the brain that were active in the brains of cocaine addicts were active in these people who were heartbroken looking at a picture of their former romantic partner."
Yet in the midst of our griefs and sorrows, God has purpose in them. And the passage we’ll study today will give us a perspective I believe will not only deal with our own grief, but help others who are grieving.
Let me kind of set up the context here. The church in Corinth had a number of fellowship issues. Paul apparently wrote 3 or 4 letters to the Corinthians, but we only have 2 of them. In God’s wisdom, He did not preserve the other two for us so their contents were not necessary to us. 1 Corinthians is actually the 2nd letter because in it, Paul references an earlier letter he had written them.
And in this letter, Paul begins by addressing our topic for the day. Paul was well acquainted with grief and suffering and sorrow. He had suffered betrayal, attempts on his life, beatings to the point of death. He was no stranger to grief, suffering, and sorrow.
Let’ read the passage. 2 Corinthians 1:1-8
Timothy: Paul’s disciple and missionary sidekick
Achaia: the province in Greece where Corinth was.
saints: set apart ones; this the term the N.T. applies to ALL followers of Jesus; not just a chosen few
Grace and peace: Paul introduces almost all his letters with this salutation. He invokes God’s unmerited favor and transcendent peace on his readers. And of course, they only come from a relationship with God through faith in Jesus the Messiah.
Let me read v.8 again: “We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life itself.”
It’s obvious that Paul is suffering greatly from physical weakness, spiritual weariness, and difficult circumstances. In his own suffering, he is reaching out to the Corinthian believers who were also suffering.
Did you notice how many times the word ‘comfort’ appears in the text? Let’s read it again and when I come to the word comfort or some derivative of it, you say it out loud, OK?