Summary: In times of crisis, God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
Where Is God In Times of Crisis?
Text: 2 Cor. 1:3-7
1. Illustration: In light of what happened this week at Virginia Tech University, many people all over the country are asking, "Where was God when all of this was going on?" Just as they asked it on Sept. 11, 2001. They want to know where is God when a tragedy like this takes place?
2. In my mind the answer is very clear: He was right there!
3. Some would say, "Well, if He was there why didn’t He do something to stop it?"
a. Because He has given man a free will.
b. Although there are consequences for our actions, God will not keep us from doing senseless things if we are not willing to listen to His voice.
4. Okay, if He was there, and He didn’t stop it from happening, what was He doing?
a. He was giving comfort to the victims of this senseless tragedy.
b. He was there, like He always is, to pick up the pieces for our mistakes.
5. You see:
a. God gives comfort to us
b. God gives comfort through us
c. God’s Comfort Produces Fellowship
6. Read 2 Cor. 1:3-7
Proposition: In times of crisis, God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
Transition: First, we must understand that...
I. God Gives Comfort To Us (3-4a)
A. God Of All Comfort
1. Paul begins this section of the Epistle by saying "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
a. He usually begins his letters by thanking God for the recipients of his letter.
b. He wanted to put the focus of his message on God.
c. What he is about to say comes directly from God either to us or through us.
2. The first reason that he gives for blessing God is that He is "the Father of mercies..."
a. The word "mercies" means compassion, pity, and mercy.
b. It means looking upon people in need and having compassion and mercy upon them.
c. Note that God is not the God of mercies but the Father of mercies.
d. His very nature and behavior toward us is that of a Father, not of a God. He is our Father, a Father who is merciful and compassionate, and who showers His mercies and compassions upon us.
3. We should also notice that the word "mercies" is plural.
a. God does not show mercy just once, nor just here and there.
b. God showers His mercies upon us continuously.
c. God does not run out of mercy for us, but every time we need His mercy He is there to deliver.
4. However, Paul gets to the heart of the matter when he says "and God of all comfort..."
a. In the Greek, some form of the word comfort appears 10 times in verses 3-7 (Wiseheart, Complete Biblical Library, 501).
b. The word "comfort" means to be by the side of another; to relieve and support; to give solace, consolation, and encouragement.
c. But there is always an underlying meaning to the word. There is the idea of strength, an enablement, a confidence.
d. It consoles and relieves a person, but it strengthens him at the same time. It charges a person to go out and face the world.
5. There are several things that we should note about God’s comfort.
a. Notice that Paul begins with comfort and not suffering (Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, 193). We need not focus on the problem, but on the fact that God will respond to our need.
b. Next, we should notice that word used here is the same word used by Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit - the Comforter.
c. God the Holy Spirit is always standing beside us to comfort, help, and guide us.
d. The third thing that we should notice is that He the God of "ALL COMFORT." This implies a sense of the comfort being immeasurable (Barrett, NICNT: The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 70).
e. There is not limit to His comfort; there is nothing that can happen to us that God cannot see us through.
6. Which leads us to what Paul says next: "who comforts us in all our tribulation..."
a. The word "tribulation" means to be weighed down exceedingly; to be pressed and crushed.
b. It is the picture of a beast of burden being crushed beneath a load that is just too heavy.
c. He comforts us in "all," not in just a few of our trials and sufferings. We do not have to bear a single trial or moment of suffering by ourselves.
d. Our Father—the Sovereign Majesty of the universe who controls all—is not off in the distance someplace far removed from us.