- HARD TIMES COME TO ALL PEOPLE.
“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Cor. 1:5 (ESV)
“To the woman He (God) said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.’” Genesis 3:16 (ESV)
“And to Adam He (God) said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV)
2 Examples that NO ONE is exempt from suffering
- Jesus—“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Cor. 1:5 (ESV)
- Paul—”For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” 2 Cor. 1:8 (ESV)
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12 (ESV)
“Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7 (NIV84)
- HARD TIMES PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE GOD’S COMFORT.
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Cor. 1:9 (ESV)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (ESV)
“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7-11 (ESV)
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
- HARD TIMES EQUIP US TO COMFORT OTHERS.
3b“…God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor. 3b-4 (ESV)
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)
- The word “comfort” means “to call alongside.”
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:15-17 (ESV)
“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Cor. 1:6-7 (ESV)
- HARD TIMES GIVES US OPPORTUNTIY TO SHARE OUR FAITH.
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” 2 Cor. 1:11 (ESV)
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11-12 (ESV)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV)