Summary: God offers comfort in all of our troubles not just at funerals.
The God of Comfort
As I listened to Dr Ron Hawkins on the Counseling Ministry DVD’s he said his dad who was a pastor told him after he had retired, “If I had it to do over I would preach more messages of comfort. People have so much pain in their lives.” It reminded me of the many times God would bring this text to my mind “Comfort My People” when I was a young pastor in Kentucky. God reminded me I had not done that for a while and I needed to do so. I wanted to see how other preachers had approached the subject, and sadly it looks like we only think of God comforting at death and funerals. They were almost all funeral messages. This text shows God actually comforts us in all our troubles. The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter.
Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum
cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."
It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, p. 11.
3 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
1. One Source of all comfort (ultimately)
The Greek word means "called to one’s side to help." The verb is used eighteen times in this letter, and the noun eleven times. In spite of all the trials he experienced, Paul was able (by the grace of God) to write a letter saturated with encouragement." (Wiersbe) He starts his encouragement by pointing us to God.
Little Johnny was playing with his father’s wallet when he accidently swallowed a quarter. He went crying to him mom, choking on the quarter. They took him to a doctor, who said that the quarter was impossible to remove without surgery, they consulted a specialist who was of the same opinion. Then came a man who said he could get the money out in a jiffy. He turned little Johnny upside down and patted him with great precision on the back of neck and, sure enough, the quarter rolled out. Everyone was amazed, the father said “You must be an expert!” The man replied, “No sir I’m just a tax collector.”
Let me put it to you another way. If your car needed to be repaired, would you go to your repair man or to your pastor to get it fixed. but I wouldn’t know what in the world was wrong with your car unless it was tires or battery., You would take out to Glen’s Garage who is a mechanic, wouldn’t you?
Here’s the hope for the hurting this morning: when you are hurting, and you need comfort, you need to go to the source. There’s only one source, and that is God.
2. For all of our troubles
Joni Eareckson Tada, who was paralyzed from the neck down while still a teenager, wrote, "You don’t have to be alone in your hurt! Comfort is yours. Joy is an option. And it’s all been made possible by your Savior. He went without comfort so you might have it. He postponed joy so you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow.