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Going Deeper Into the God of Comfort

SufferingsC. S. Lewis said, “Pain is God’s megaphone.” Pain certainly has the potential to drive us deeper into Him. Paul mentioned this to his friends in Corinth when he said, “We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” (2 Corinthians 1:7 NLT) And that was right after He called God “the God of all comfort.”

I don’t know why we suffer. I can’t explain the existence of evil or why bad things happen to good people. I have plenty of questions I would love to ask God. What I can say is that we serve a God who loves us enough to hurt right alongside us. This is nowhere more prominently clear than in the cross where Jesus not only paid for our sins with His life, but also joined suffering humanity.

He not only hurts with us, He also provides the refuge and resting place for those who suffer. If you’re in pain today, go deeper into Him. Go deeper in your walk with Him, deeper into your knowledge of His truth through the Bible, and deeper in your understanding of how His grace has made salvation and full, eternal deliverance from suffering a reality. Go deeper into the God of all comfort today.

The Greatest Songs, We Write from Brokenness

It Is WellWhen Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed for the crime of healing a young girl and freeing her from slavery in Philippi, the Bible says “at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25 NKJV)

When (the future) King David had lost his family, his wife, his mentor (Samuel), his home in the palace with King Saul, and his best friend (Jonathan), he hid in a cave, scratched out a meager life alone for a while, and wrote the 142nd psalm, “I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.” (Psalm 142:1 NKJV)

When Jonah was trapped in the belly of the great fish for three days and nights, having exhausted his effort to run from God’s presence, he wrote a song, “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me.” (Jonah 2:2 NKJV)

Horatio Spafford lost his son to scarlet fever, his livelihood in the great Chicago fire, and all four of his daughters in the sinking of the SS Ville du Havre. His wife, who survived the sinking telegrammed him the simple message, “Saved alone…” While Spafford crossed the Atlantic himself to meet up with his grieving wife, he wrote, “When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

The greatest songs history has ever seen have been written from the depths of loss and pain. From the depths, the valleys, the darkest moments in life and history, God’s people have found comfort enough in God’s character to cry out to Him. It reminds me of the title of a message I once heard Kenneth Bobo preach – From Sighing to Singing.

There is a modern movement within evangelical Christianity toward a gospel of prosperity in which our comfort, “blessing,” and happiness replaces every other objective God might have for His children. It is offensive. It is dangerous. It is not the gospel but rather a cheap counterfeit. And it devalues every song ever written from the heart of one clinging to the eternal, unchanging character of God in the most desperate moments of life.

Our witness to the glory and saving power of God comes not from our comfort, our success, or our ignorant bliss surrounded by a world of suffering. Our witness comes from our living in and often swallowed up by suffering ourselves. This is the way of Jesus, Himself, who was willing to suffer with us, for us, and as us on the cross. And from that cross, Jesus cried out Himself, “It is finished!” Or more literally, “Paid in full!”

Video: Why Does God Allow Evil?

Here’s a two minute snippet from my message this past Sunday at Grace Hills where I address the question of why God allows evil. Cruise over to GraceHillsChurch.com to watch the full message entitled The Reasons for Our Hope.

Sometimes I Wish You Knew

I define myself with clear priorities. I am first and foremost a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, a born again child of God. I’m also a husband to an awesome wife, and a Dad to a wonderful daughter. Then I’m a Pastor to a great church. Sometimes I’m also a web and graphic designer. I love all of these realms of life and appreciate the people I’ve come to know in each.

As a Pastor, and I’m sure other church leaders will identify with what I’m about to write, I can say that there is tremendous pressure that few people realize. I don’t talk about it much but felt the need to clear my heart this morning. I hope you’ll appreciate the transparency here.

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If Your Spouse Doesn’t Love You

I said a couple of days ago, and in our midweek Bible study, that one of the hardest things I deal with is not being able to help or repair broken situations. It’s not in me, but it is in the power of God to do so. Nonetheless, there are times I face a question I just can’t answer for one who is suffering, and this one is common, “My spouse doesn’t love me.”

What’s tough is that we can’t make someone love us. That’s something even God won’t do. Love is a choice, and we can’t make choices for anyone else. Today I saw this video by John Piper answering this very question. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s the only answer that is appropriate sometimes…

In summary, and from my own heart… don’t ask how you can change your spouse’s heart, you can only change yourself. What is it about you that can change, realizing that there may not be anything about you that needs to change. So lean on prayer the way I mention in this posted message. And don’t hesitate to email me asking for prayer – it’s one of the reasons I’m on this earth and you are never a bother!