Leading the Way
Read 2 Corinthians 1:6-7
Our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:7
One of my favorite preachers was Dr. George W. Truett, who pastored First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, for nearly fifty years. In one of his sermons, he told about an unbelieving couple whose baby died suddenly. Dr. Truett conducted the funeral and later had the joy of seeing both parents trust Jesus Christ.
Many months later, a young mother lost her baby, and Dr. Truett was called to bring her comfort. Nothing he shared with her seemed to help her. But at the funeral service, the newly converted mother stepped to the young woman's side and said, "I passed through this, and I know what you are passing through. God called me, and through the darkness I came to Him. He has comforted me, and He will comfort you!"
Later Dr. Truett said, "The first mother did more for the second mother than I could have done, maybe in days and months; for the first young mother had traveled the road of suffering herself."
We do not need to experience exactly the same trials as others in order to be able to share God's encouragement. If we have experienced God's comfort, then "we can comfort those in any trouble" (v. 4). Of course, if we have experienced similar tribulations, they can help us identify better with others and know better how they feel; but our experiences cannot alter the comfort of God. That remains sufficient and efficient no matter what our own experiences may have been.
Applying God's Truth
1. Can you recall a similar instance in your life or the life of a friend or family member that caused you to question God's love or doubt His power? How did you deal with your feelings?
2. Which do you tend to share with others more frequently: your sufferings, or a sense of comfort? Why?
3. Does your faith in God tend to change based on the amount of comfort you feel? Explain.
Devotions for Encouragement and Maturity. ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.