Comfort in Times of Trouble
some degree, when you share them. So here's an important purpose then, of God comforting you, is so you'll be
equipped to help someone else. God wants every believer helping others.
Notice how easy it is . I was just in a book store just the other day, I went in the book store, I started to talk to the
person there, and I began to ask and enquire, and just talk into their heart. Next thing I know, the person's opening
their heart - tears, this person's standing there in the middle of the place, where they're supposed to be selling.
They're just blubbering and tears are all coming down, and they're starting to share. Why? Because they felt God
come near them, because of what I said to them. So comfort, we're called to bring comfort to others, and so I was
able to really help that person. So here's a comfort question. I read this just a little while ago. Joy gave me a book and
said you need to read this, this was given to us to read, and I didn't want to read it because it had been given to us to
read [laughter], but however I did. It had on it a comfort question. This is what the question asked, and I felt quite
challenged actually. I got a bit weepy after I heard this question. This was the question: Can you ever recall as a
child, being comforted during a time of emotional distress; when someone actually connected with you, and they
listened to you, and they understood your pain, and they gave you reassurance afterwards, so you felt better?
I thought ooh, I don't like that question. I didn't like what I thought was my answer. The answer I had was no, and I
was quite shocked when I thought: well actually no; so the question I raised again, well what do you do when you get
in pain? I came to the horrible recognition over years when I'm in pain, I isolate, and the pain increases. I try to feel
better. Used to read books and also other things to try and feel better. Isn't that what people do when they get in pain,
isolate? Or they react, and get really on an edge; or we can receive comfort from God. Now here's a thing - God
doesn't always comfort you directly. Sometimes His way of comforting you is through another person, and you might
be sitting next to the person that God called you to comfort; or the person that God has sent to you to comfort you,
could be just next to you or near you. Think about that.
So I want us just to look at that, so the word comfort in the Bible is not just put your arms around and just: there,
there, there and make you feel better. The word in the Bible in comfort is this: it addresses the root of the problem. It
means literally: to call near; or it means: to come alongside you in your distress, and be there for you. How about that,
to come alongside you in your distress, and be there for you. Jesus is a comforter. He said: I'm going to send you
another comforter, just like Me, so Jesus was a comforter. Notice what his name is: Emmanuel, God with us; so the
biggest aspect of comfort in the Bible is that God doesn't leave us alone. He comes and connects with us to help us,
and walk with us through the difficulty - it doesn't always change the difficulty, but someone is there with us.
Let's have a look at an example, a great example it is, and you can see what comfort looks like in 1 Samuel 2 3:16.
This is what real comfort looks like, then I'll give you just a few practical keys on how to do it. In Verse 16, David is
now hunted down. He's gone from fame to he's now number one on the wanted list, and there's a poster out: shoot
him on sight. So he came out into the wilderness. Now Verse 16: then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David
in the woods, and strengthened his hand in God. And said to him: do not fear, the hand of Saul my father shall not
find you. You shall be king over Israel, I shall be next to you. And e ven my father knows that. The two of them made a
covenant before the Lord. So here's a man who strengthened. If you comfort someone, I tell you what, after your
ministry to them, they are strengthened in God. They feel stronger, more able to handle what they're facing; so there
are some things you need to learn to do, so I'm going to give you the not to do's first of all, because I know there's
things that we've all done it. I have observed over years in ministry, that when peop le are in trouble, the worst people
that come to help them sometimes are Christians. [Laughter] So I know this isn't you, but just in case you know
someone who did some of these things, then you could just tick these ones off, okay?
So when someone has trouble, don't come to them and say: oh, I just know what you're feeling, and I know what
you're going through. You don't! Don't worry, it'll soon pass. Don't say that. Get o ver it - don't say that. It's not that bad
really. Well you want to hear what I went through, and boy, you know blah blah blah blah blah. None of those things
help anyone, in fact actually they make them more miserable, and somewhat angry. Murder rises in the heart.
[Laughter] They think: shall I kill him now, or not? [Laughter] Would God forgive me, if I did? Don't joke or make fun of
it - oh it's nothing, come on, you'll be okay, get over it. Don't say to them something like this: you need more faith
brother! [Laughter] More faith. More faith! Now I do want to kill you. [Laughter] All the faith I have, it's still not getting
me through. Don't tell me I need more faith. How many have had someone say: you need more faith? [Laughs] Okay,
here's another one here: well you just need to praise the Lord anyway. It might be true, but it's not help ful, it can
actually really upset people.
Here's another one that doesn't help either: well we all have days like that, move on. Move on. None of that helps.
Here's another one that doesn't help: oh you shouldn't feel that way, you're a Christian, you shouldn't be angry. You
should trust in God! Here's another one: you should forgive! Feel the word 'should' - it's the law coming. There's no
grace and mercy in that. I know I should forgive, I just don't want to. [Laughter] I'm too angry to e ven think and go