5th May 2020

Take Comfort in God

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (CSB)

Despite our best efforts to stay positive in this current lock-down, it is easy to get frustrated that we cannot now do things we took for granted—popping out to buy a paper, to have a coffee, to have lunch or to meet a friend, or just the freedom to drive to the coast or a beauty spot for a nice walk are all gone! It is easy to start feeling sorry for ourselves when normal life is suspended. But as the scripture above tells us, we need to turn to God for comfort in times of affliction. God is with us, strengthens and supports us in all our trials whether long or short. That is a great relief and a real blessing.

But do we ask ourselves why? First because we need comfort personally in a time of trial, like the current situation. But if we keep reading we will see there is another purpose for God comforting us. However much we need some help and encouragement, which God will give us, it also reminds us that we need to reach out to comfort others. Sometimes in a time of trial we can, understandably, become focused inwards on ourselves and our troubles. While it is not wrong to think about our own troubles, we need to realise that God comforts us so that we have the strength to look outwards to give comfort to others. Whatever trial we may face, someone we know is also facing one. At the moment it may be the same as our trial and frustration at this lock-down. So the key to coping, is to look to God for the help we need, while at the same time asking for help to reach out to others who need help in some way.

People sometimes think that being a Christian is about being a theologian, a person with deep Bible knowledge. That is a good thing, but let’s remember the story about the sheep and goats in Matthew 25. The sheep were not commended for their Bible knowledge, but for their compassion. Jesus says when I was hungry you gave me something to eat, thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me, sick and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. In astonishment the sheep replied, When did we do those things for you? To which Jesus replies, whatever you did for others, you did for me. So any contact with others in a time of need, like now, is more important to Jesus than having a degree in Bible studies. A telephone call, an e-mail, a letter, doing some shopping, walking someone’s dog, praying for someone, supporting and encouraging someone is what Christianity is all about. If you feel you can’t do anything, ask God to show what you can do and if necessary how to do it. Don’t let this difficult time discourage or depress you. Yes it is difficult, but it is also a time of opportunity to reach out to another person in some way.

Prayer
Gracious loving father, help us to see an opportunity to serve in this current situation. Show us who needs help and encouragement, and the best way to give it. Strengthen us through this trial so our focus can be on serving others. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Keith Hartrick
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*Note that due to the coronavirus lockdown, Church Services are suspended for the time being. Contact is still as below. For live-streaming Sermons and Bible Studies go to our UK website www.gracecom.church

About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: leeds@gracecom.church