The Waiting Room - Part 5 - Entering the Comfort Zone


mr. Stevens forgot his Bible he lived and breathed this book the whole time his wife was in critical care and he forgot his Bible I will good morning / almost afternoon everybody welcome to the well here at STS a what we like to say around here is we are an ordinary place where extraordinary things happen and I'm so happy that you're here joining us on this particular Sunday is we're in the finale of a five-week series we've been talking about called in the waiting room and the question that we've been answering throughout this whole time is what do you do when there's nothing you can do and I want to start off today by telling you a story at one time when hours literally and one of those what do you do when there's nothing you can do situations the year was 2009 and I along with a group of about probably like six seven of us went over to a city in England called Brighton all right and for those who've ever been there was a movie called Brighton Beach whatever it was I don't think it's the same one but there's a city called Brighton in England and the reason I was over there I was with my family as well six seven other people I was asked to go there's kind of like a mission trip quote unquote because there was a large Church there Coptic Church there which had tons hundreds hundreds of young people college-age like young adult graduate that kind of age group hundreds of these guys and they were all away from the church and they were all kind of doing their own thing and there was you know some issues with the church and things like that so I was asked by the powers-that-be to go over there and spend you know two and a half weeks over there with a group and just kind of do like a revival or do like whatever I could do for a couple weeks so I obliged and I and I went and I remember we were gonna spend two and a half weeks there in Brighton and we got there a few days early and spent like three or four days in London and while we were there in London like again we're trying to like a revival kind of thing going to visit the churches and do meetings of the churches it was really powerful and we were really excited for what was gonna be there when we got to Brighton like we were excited to have two weeks we had nothing to do except spiritual things and just kind of invest in the people over there as we're driving from London to Brighton I still remember like it was yesterday stopped to get gas at a gas station and probably let's say about an hour out from our destination and one of the group that was with us was a girl from London she was on her phone or she somehow discovered that there was some news that happened in that community that we were going to visit in Brighton and that is a husband and a wife okay mother and father husband and wife both died that morning not just they both died though there was a tragic death it was tragic because what was discovered what was believed at the beginning and later confirmed was that one killed the other then killed himself alright the husband had a had a history of being very abusive and apparently he took his wife's life right there in the apartment and then overcome by the the reality what he did he then took his own life actually gets more tragic becomes even more tragic is they had three children the youngest daughter I think she was 14 at the time she's the one who actually discovered it when she walked in the apartment it's on they're both lying there in a pool of blood right in front of her eyes fourteen-year-old girl and here I come we find out about this news and here we are a group of Americans know nothing about anything we show up and as soon as we arrive they say we're going straight Church everyone is gathering in church because of this horrible situation that has shaken this community and and the kids don't know what to do and the family don't know what to do and the group over there the church it's all a group of immigrants from Sudan okay they're all Sudanese so they're very very tight-knit and everyone's everyone's uncle and cousin like everyone is part of the same family and this rocked the community so they said all gonna meet in church now if I describe to you what I found when I got to church you won't believe me every culture has its own way of mourning okay and you understand that and you respect that and every culture is different but I discovered quickly that we as Americans we have a culture Sudanese have another culture I got there in that church and I guess this is the standard practice okay like I said I don't know anything about anything they've been hearing for a couple months there's great father he's coming and all of a sudden this happens this morning I get there and there's this long room in the basement of the church like a hall okay and it's long and skinny and there was a row of chairs along the back wall side by side by side by side by side by side by side and then directly in front of them another row of chairs this way side by side by side by side so you have two people standing like sitting you like this and then another row like this all the way down the room from one end to the other and then again along the wall all the way down so you have two groups two lines of people facing each other we get there and there's a room probably I mean it's probably about a hundred and fifty and somehow it's all men okay there's very very few it may be you look why don't you I don't know if that's the thing they do there but there's all men and they're just sitting there in those rows in dead silence dead you maybe hear a sniffle or something like that dead silence until someone walks in when someone walks in what happens all the way down the row all the way and then back through this way and it like and every five minutes someone new would walk you have to get up and do this thing again you sit back down and sadly you get up every five minutes that happens now when I walked in I did the thing okay and I just kind of grabbed a seat over there but because I'm the priest where they want me to sit they said sit next to the children the three children so I'm like how's like introduce myself okay and then they're like say a prayer and I'm like I don't know anyway I don't know anything about anything they wanted me to like kind of lead this event cuz the other priest hadn't shown up there but Here I am if that's not awkward enough if that's not awkward enough you want to get more awkward the next day is the funeral what happens at the time of the funeral they come to me the priest says to me gives me the microphone says go ahead you preach on I said Oh No thank you so much father you preach he said no no no you and he's one of these old guys who kind of the scary and I'm just like the young little puppy guy he says you've reached and I'm like I don't want to preach I don't know anything like I have to start the preaching by saying hello my name is father and I'm from America they don't know who I am tragic situation like the kids like the faith like it said horrible situation Here I am say something it gets even more awkward you know why cuz as I'm okay I'm like okay I'm gonna do this he says speak in Arabic I was like but I don't know Arabic he's like what they don't know English only God knows what I said that day I don't know what I said I don't know how it came across I don't know what benefit of that episode was but what I did learn from that and not just that but other situations as being a priest now for however many years is this is life like in my job this is life life is you are just for no decision of your own you are thrust into other people's lives in the worst possible situations and you are expected to know what to say or what to do even though let's be honest there's nothing that I can say and nothing that I can do I'm asked at times to be able to answer questions that if I'm real honest like if I open up inside my heart that I have the same question inside me but you know what I discovered it's not just me as a priest this is life isn't it like maybe I have more occasions but this is life this is life as a friend if you call yourself a friend he's gonna come a point in time where you were thrust in that same situation as well to call yourself a brother a daughter a sister a cousin like this is how life is that we are thrust into these situations well we don't have anything that we can say but we're expected to say something through experiences like that I've learned a few lessons about what I'm calling it's a biblical term that I'm kind of using in a little bit different way the Fellowship of suffering and I want to share with you some observations about the Fellowship of suffering this shouldn't be new to you if you've ever been through any kind of suffering situation the first observation very simple is that there exists a natural bond between those who have suffered deeply and similarly there is a natural bond between people who have suffered similarly and deeply what I mean by that is I'm a priest I'm the expert guy from wash in DC United States of America I'm a very little value in that situation that I described you know who was much more valuable the people there were certain people that walked into that room and you could see it they walked into that room and they had been through similar situations even though you can't imagine something similar to that but deep pain and deep sorrow they've experienced it and those people walked into that room with authority and with power and there was an instant bond I know all the verses they've lived all the verses I know all the sermons but they've lived that stuff and they've experienced it and those people there's a natural bond that exists between people have suffered deeply and similarly in life goes beyond preaching second observation those who have suffered are uniquely qualified to comfort those and suffering you agree with that statement we've all been in a situation where we've been suffering and someone comes and says a whole bunch of words and we hate then want them to go away because they don't know what we're going through and then someone comes and says the exact same words but they've been through it that person is qualified to comfort me and my suffering I see this all the time - oh I've taught my head cancer victims or cancer survivors I should say or those who have lost people to cancer or those who have gone through cancer those people are better equipped to comfort those who are going through cancer than I am second one is people have gone through abuse okay and I get applies everything but those are the two that cut off top my head people who have gone through the abuse and have been through the pain and been through that the isolated feeling those people are uniquely qualified to comfort those who are going through those situations and thirdly comfort from those who have been comforted is life-giving to those who receive it comfort from those who are uniquely qualified those who have been through it okay said another way that when you're in the waiting room and you're there in the room and someone comes in who's been there that's life-giving to you when you're still there and someone comes in who has been there that's life-giving to you because that person's words again I know the verses but I'm talking words that person's given life you all agree with me on these three statements right if you don't agree with me just stay tuned in life experience you'll you'll live this unfortunately we'll all live this is the state of life that we all find ourselves in but there's a fourth observation that I want to spend the rest of today talking about and this one may come as a surprise to you maybe not something that you generally think of when it comes to this topic of comfort and that is this that comforting while it's life-giving to the recipient is equally life-giving to the comforter as well that comforting while it's life-giving to the recipient is equally comforting to the comforter as well and if I only seen this once twice three or four times I wouldn't say it but because I seen it so many many many many many many times I can preach this is fact that when you are in a situation when you are in a dark place in a lonely place in an isolated place in a scary place and a place filled with all kinds of fear and all kinds of doubts and all kinds of the things that we said I'll never be happy nothing good will ever come from this what's the point of trying when you're in that place and then God comforts you and gets you through it either through another person or through God Himself comforts you and he gets you out of that situation and then you're in a situation where you can be that comfort for somebody else you become an equal beneficiary of the comfort that you end up giving and the reason why is this because in that moment in that moment your darkness when you are sharing comfort when you are comforting someone else in that moment your darkness your loneliness your fear your whatever your waiting room is your pain all of a sudden in that moment that thing that you hate the most and that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy but you found yourself in in that moment you see a little purpose to it you see a little piece of oh now I get it I doesn't explain everything but all of a sudden a little light shines in there and nothing good will ever come from this now of a sudden something good might come from this and it'll never be happy now the sudden and I'll go even deeper for you in that mode I'm gonna break this down a little bit in that moment when you are the one doing the comforting you know what you become in that moment you know what you become I should say know who you become you become God because all comfort comes from God you become the comforter which is another term for those who know their Bible is another term for the Holy Spirit Himself is the comforter you don't become the comforter out of your strength you become the comforter out of the very weakness that you resisted your whole life now that's our subject for today and let me just kind of everyone take a deep breath that was some deep stuff that we just talked about and some of you sitting there I can see it in your eyes you're like I thought this supposed to be like a happy Sunday like a happy Church like why are we talking about relax okay it is well it is not as difficult to stuff as it may seem off the bat and by the end of this you're gonna be telling me that it makes sense because what we're doing for those just kind of catch everyone up in case you're kind of joining us here for the first time we are in the final week of a five-week series called in the waiting room and if you missed any of the messages in the first five weeks they kind of build on each other okay you'll be okay for today but if what I'm saying like strikes a chord then go back go to our website the well at SCSA dot-com and go check out the first five parts in the series okay to hopefully kind of make it all they're a cohesive unit what we're talking about is answering this question as I said earlier which is what do you do when there's nothing you can do what do you do when you find yourself in a situation where there's no way forward and no way out where the thing that you resisted for your so long has now become your reality your new reality in life and whether it's a marriage that is just gonna get fixed whether it's a health issue or my job stinks or whatever it may be you find yourself in a situation that your whole life you said my life is gonna go this way and you yourself not only here now but here and you've camped out right here and it doesn't look like you're moving any time soon what do you do then well our normal inclination when we find ourselves in the waiting room is very negative by nature we get negative we say like I said I'll never be happy again okay x4 we don't never be happy again is the end of the world I wish I could go back to the college days I'll never be as happy as that again never be as happy as when we first got married I'll never be happy anymore life can never be good again number two we say that nothing good can ever come out of this and don't tell me a Bible verse where all things were to get like don't tell me a story about John the Baptist these guys nothing good come out of my situation and then thirdly we get to the point we say you know there's no point in trying I have prepared God all these years why obey God anymore I did things the honest way everyone else that were cheated why why continue to be honest and this is usually the situation that we reach in our negativity we think and our stupidity eyes where I really should say and our stupidity we think that God has somehow dropped the ball that God has messed things up that God didn't do his end of the deal like I did my end and God dropped the ball and didn't follow through on what he was supposed to do but we discovered in this series that actually that's not true that as much as we think in our hearts that it should be God's job is to make me happy as much as we think that just as children think it's the parents job just give them whatever they want we discovered is actually believe it or not that's not God's job his job description is not just to make us happy he can be doing his job and I can find myself in trial and tribulation and the two are not a constant to one another again that's not natural to us what's natural to us is if I'm not happy God's not doing a good job if God's not cooperating with me then he's not a good god or maybe he doesn't even exist how do I know there even is it God but we said that to believe that okay is to negate the years and years and years the centuries of history that we have in Christianity like we didn't just show up and invent Christianity yesterday right Christian you've been around for several thousand years and in those several thousand years what we've seen is there the group of Christianity as a whole this idea of adversity and a good God have never been exclusive of one another and yes we may believe it that way now but that's never been the concept in all our Christianity said another way go to the people who gave us Christianity go to the people who gave us Christianity and you will see that they did not live easy lives they didn't lead wrinkle-free lives the way we want Jesus certainly did not live a wrinkle-free life his disciples didn't live wrinkle-free lives his disciples disciples didn't live wrinkle-free lives his disciples disciples disciples and all the way down through the generation then he gets out of the Year 2015 and we say negates the first 2014 2014 years of Christianity and I want this year this is theology that if God loves me he gives me everything that I want I think Christianity we saw that you can have God and can have adversity and the two are not exclusive of one another and in fact unfortunately what we saw is not only the two not exclusive but the two almost are a coupling that are inseparably paired you say why is it got to be this way and I wish I could answer that for you if I could stand up here and give you an answer of why there has to be suffering in your life why there has to be trials I wish I could answer I'd be a rich man if I could answer that but I can but last week we saw again this doesn't answer the question entirely and I would be oversimplifying it if I was saying it did but we saw maybe just maybe like God and his mind has a million reasons maybe one of the reasons maybe just one of the reasons why God is allowing the trial in your life is to make you a better person or what we saw last week is to make you perfect this is what we saw last week in James 1 2 and 4 says my brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials why would I count a joy when I fall into trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience and let patience have it's perfect work that you may be perfect complete lacking nothing like a muscle that in order to grow must be stretched our faith our relationship with God which is eternal for this relationship with God to deepen and to grow stronger it's gotta be stretched sometimes and again I would be oversimplifying it to say yeah God makes you miserable just to make you a more mature spiritually I'm not saying it like that but I'm saying maybe there's more here than meets the eye and that's why we said last week for those who are here we talked about the most important thing if we need the patience to endure this that we need wisdom so that God can give us a different perspective and be able to see it from his perspective of things because this is not natural to us now today we're gonna wrap up this series by talking about the role of comfort and I'm gonna answer specifically hopefully by the end something specific about what do you do when there's nothing you could do we're gonna look at an epistle of 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 2nd corinthians is an epistle or a letter let's say the word letter it's easier written by st. Paul we talked about st. Paul and we kind of understood his the context of st. Paul's writings not a guy sitting on a beach sipping on champagne okay with someone feeding the grapes in his mouth the st. Paul lived a tough life by every stretch imaginable like no one lived tougher life than st. Paul what he endured for the sake of spreading the gospel like he put in his mind I want to take this message of Christianity beyond the boundaries of Judaism before this like Jesus was Jewish and the Christians were just Jewish I want to take it to the ends of the earth and he suffered significantly for whether he was imprisoned whether he was beaten whether he was shipwrecked whether he old friends left him they betrayed him like miserable miserable kind of sufferings in life and he speaks about some of those sufferings in second Corinthians have you read that entire letter no letter talks about how much he suffered more than that letter like he wrote many letters that went in particular he talks about the marks of his Apostleship so to speak all the stuff he went through and I'll give you just one verse right here from 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 verse 8 alright so this is the beginning of the letter verse 8 says we do not want you to be ignorant brethren of our trouble which came to us in Asia that we were burdened beyond measure above strength so that we despaired even of life y'all get what he's saying right here it's st. Paul again this is baby okay this isn't some some little weak person okay okay this isn't some weak little person this is a toughest guy to walk this is a man who exuded toughness like I said they beat it one time one time they took st. Paul outside the city they said get out of here and he wouldn't get since they stone him and they don't rocks him to stone him and they stopped stoning him you know why cuz they thought he was dead is that okay no don't waste any more rocks on the guy few hours later st. Paul's shook it off and what'd he do he went back into the city and kept on preaching like it doesn't become a tougher person than st. Paul what are you saying here saying there was a time where we were burdened beyond measure above strength and he said that he did what what a st. Paul feel he despaired of life you'll know what that means anyone who's ever despaired of life and had those thoughts which you don't even want to admit those thoughts that that you know why even go on just and someone tells you that's not Christian to believe that well st. Paul believed that for a little bit and st. Paul fought that I shouldn't say believed it he felt that and st. Paul the toughest guy ever got to the point we said you know what man I was even thinking about pulling the plug on this thing like I can't take it anymore that's our backdrop for what we're about to read you got the backdrop is that this suffering and like I said if you don't understand go read second Corinthians when you get home his 13 chapters not to take that long and you will see he talks about his suffering more than anyone else that's the backdrop and now we're gonna go back to the beginning of the verse a beginning of the chapter meaning of the letter everybody see how he starts it we see here that starting in verse 8 and through the rest of it he's gonna talk about all kinds of suffering let's see how he starts it right here he says blessed be this is verse 3 blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of mercies and the God of all comfort I beg your pardon he's talking about God who is God of mercy and God of comfort meaning he's the source of comfort of all comfort but in two minutes you're about to say how you want to kill yourself and how you had so much problems that you couldn't take life anymore and just if remember we talked about the thorn in the flesh several weeks ago remember when Saint Paul talked about the thorn in the flesh that's the same letter so in Chapter 12 that's where he starts to talk about I had this thorn in my flesh which I received as from God so the source of comfort gave me a thorn in my flesh and for those who weren't here we talked about that thorn in the flesh was something humiliating something painful something debilitating of something permanent and he says God is God of comfort can I be honest st. Paul as if I'm talking to st. Paul st. Paul this is exactly why I don't believe and he's a God of comfort this is exactly what I don't believe this is the opposite of what I believe because I believe that if he was God of comfort he would take away the sword that he would remove the despair that he would solve the situation and then I could say look God of comfort but the very fact that he makes me be in a situation where I despair of life that have a thorn in my flesh that I cannot shake it's very difficult for me to say he's God of comfort in that situation how if he was really all about comfort and mercy does he leave me in this situation again this is how we think and I understand I'm not blaming anyone who thinks this way I'm not blaming you but again I cannot reiterate enough that our history of Christianity the people who taught us Christianity if you believe in something called Christianity today it was taught to you by someone else you didn't didn't just come into your own mind the people that taught it to us those people never saw a discrepancy between trials and adversity and a good God who loves them dearly if they did we wouldn't have Christianity today because Christianity would have been squashed back in the first century if people said no way we can believe in God is if all the bad stuff goes away then Christianity would not exist today but the reason that it does exist and the reason why I don't know two-thirds of the world's population wherever the statistic is says that they are Christian what one reason for that is is because there was never a discrepancy that we could believe in a good God who loves us dearly and has a great plan for our life and not everything works out the way we want it that he's still God of comfort and God of mercy even though he doesn't give me what I want okay so what does he give me and my waiting room well since he's God of all comfort blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of mercies the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation there you go happy that make you happy there it is God doesn't solve your problem but he gives you comfort how's that sound be honest when you were miserable and suffering raise your hand how many people say God give me comfort through this we don't pray that what do we pray God get me out of this but give me comfort give me a nice pillow so I can lay my head down get me the heck out of here honey comfort god I need solution God if I want to comfort I go eat some ice cream ice cream give me comfort only comfort I need a solution I need a final husband to find a wife I need to have kids I need a new job I need to get rid of these kids I don't know whatever it is that I need I don't need comfort I need miracle and that's how we pray but maybe and this is the part that maybe God can do a little work inside our heads today maybe we don't understand what comfort means in the passage I'm going to read to you right now that we're gonna read rested today it's eight verses the word comfort is used 10 times and maybe st. Paul said I have all this bad but that's okay he's God of comfort who gives me comfort and st. Paul was okay with that transaction that he doesn't take this away but he comforts me in it maybe if we understood God's comfort maybe we'd be ok with it too the word comfort in Greek is a word that you may have heard sounding before it's the word para Cleese's para Cleese's which sounds a lot like Paraclete ok and the word Paraclete is used to refer to the Holy Spirit that's his name he's called the Paraclete which literally means the comforter ok we say the Holy Spirit and several the church prayers we talk about the comforter alright the Holy Spirit the Paraclete and Saint Paul says that I don't have solutions but I do get Pericles from God and that does it for me what does comfort mean you know who else believed in the power of comfort or Pericles is Jesus one time when he was preaching and the Sermon on the Mount the very first sermon that he gave okay first public one I should say at least on when he's on the hill he said blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted one second here timeout let's take this one jesus said blessed means good blessed means happy blessed it means something that we all want are those who mourn because they shall be comforted so what Jesus is saying what st. Paul thinks all the same theology all put together saying that having mourning plus comfort is greater than no mourning at all again having mourning or having trials or having difficulty plus the comfort of God that - Plus that Plus is greater than having neither of the two you agree or disagree you agree or disagree by our lives we disagree because we say God keep your comfort and keep your problems but jesus said the smart one the one who wants to be blessed will know that the morning plus the comfort like you - two plus seven thousand minus two plus seven thousand that guy's better off in the end we need to understand what the word comfort means comfort like I said Pericles says Paraclete Holy Spirit means that when when the Bible talks about God gives us comfort in all our tribulation it doesn't mean like like sympathy it's not a human comfort it's a divine comfort it's not like a pat on the back like hey get him next time tired it's not like a an e-card okay like the Sun will come out tomorrow tomorrow it's not a song it's something divine it's something life-giving remember I said how comfort is life-giving well life giver is another word used another title I should say for the Holy Spirit he's the life Giver he's also the comforter so we can say that his comforting is life-giving the word that I want to use to describe this this comforting like the best expression my mind is galvanizing denote galvanizing means like galvanizing is when you take steel like and that steel is like ready to rip through whatever it may be when it's been galvanized you may have a sword that's kind of and then you galvanize it that's what God's comfort does it upholds us it makes us ready to face the world and ready to cut through whatever it may be that we're facing out there what I want to say is God's comfort is a sacramental thing which we don't see but you know who sees it I see it I see it from the observer in that room with the people I see it I see that I come say God loves you and God take care of you and I could say all kinds of sermons and they just like I said want me to go awake and I see someone come and I see them look them straight in the eye and give the comfort of God that's galvanizing that's upholding you there's someone I know who was going through Veit it wasn't this situation but difficult situations very very difficult situations okay and the hardest situation okay the hardest situation is parent to child in my opinion okay so I'm talking about a parent right now who tragedy with their child okay this to me this is the pinnacle least of all the suffering guy seen this is the hardest one I seen someone like that and I seen that person go through I've seen that person go through it and I've been there and then I see them pick themselves up now I shouldn't say picked themselves up I seen God picked them up and I seen the way that God picked them up and knows that lady can say stuff which I cannot say that lady can say stuff which I cannot say that lady can say in the midst of the most miserable like the most painful thing that you can possibly imagine that lady can say God will get you through she can say that because she's experienced it and that comfort which she gives to someone else that is not a that's not a human thing that's not a human thing that's a divine thing that's a pair of Cleese's kind of a thing that's why this is a big deal back to our verse blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who comforts us I'm sorry the father of all mercies got a lot of comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to and I'm going dot dot dot right here because there's a little bit of a cliffhanger so now we saw that we're miserable but God gives us comfort that we may be able to now what's gonna come next what's gonna come next God gives me his comfort that I may be able to live another day smile in the rain that I may be able to go to sleep happy tonight that's what it's gonna be right God comforts me so that now I have the ability that I didn't have five minutes ago to Comfort those are in any trouble excuse me God comforts me so that I'm able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God remember how last week we talked about how we need wisdom perspective greater context this is why because what God is saying right here what st. Paul is saying I should say is you got to take a step back here man there's more to your waiting room than meets the eye you look at it from this perspective you say why doesn't God and how come from God's perspective there's a lot more going on here and again forgive me for what I'm about to say I realize I cannot say this to you I can't say this to you one-on-one I don't have the guts but I can say this to a large group and then just ask for your apology after I've asked for forgiveness after maybe just maybe just like maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe God gave you a trial God gave you a trial so that he could comfort you in it because he's got a great purpose for you outside of that and that is to be a comforter for others you don't want to hear that when you're suffering I get it I totally get it that's why I said I can get away with this now on stage because I ain't talking anyone in particular but maybe if you would just open your heart and see that maybe God gave it to member we said this is a gift okay we're taking our waiting room as a gift from God maybe God gave it to me as a gift because God sees things in a bigger perspective and maybe God is looking for more comforters on this earth and maybe that's why again maybe I'm starting to see a little bit of the purpose Paul not that we don't get that we struggle with that because we focus tend to focus on ourselves we want to just to be fixed for me st. Paul he got it and he saw a bigger perspective and st. Paul said you know what this adversity which like I said if you don't believe me go read the rest of that letter when you go home you read about the worst most miserable life which of any one of the things that he talks we talked about probably 20 things if any one of them happened us we'd acquit on life many many many times he went through all this stuff and he said you know what I'm not bitter towards God I'm not angry at God I don't hold anything against God yeah I I at a time I was I was praying that it would go away but you know what God said it's not gonna go away and you know what I don't hold that against God you know why because God gave me something through that he gave me the ability to be able to comfort others and you say what's the big deal about that I don't want that and he says it's because you don't understand that because if you did if you did you would realize that God's comfort doesn't just comfort the recipient it comforts the comforter just as much said another way let's make this nice and blunt as possible as blunt as possible God comforts us to comfort others say that with me God comforts us to comfort others one more time here you got to hear yourself saying God comforts us to comfort others I'm in a tough situation I don't know what to do god I need your comfort okay I will give you my comfort but I will give it to you so that you would comfort others why in this situation am I not getting God's comfort well because maybe you've shut the door and you're not willing to share the comfort and if you're not willing to share the comfort you're probably not gonna receive too much of it Paul got that and that's why you have a man st. Paul who miracles were part of his life st. Paul not only was he the strongest guy but st. Paul miracles all around st. Paul witnessed the risen Christ in front of his very eyes like he had faith to pray for miracles st. Paul people who were sick people who were possessed he went to them boom healed him they say that st. Paul if you read the book of Acts it says that when he had remember how I told you he had like some eye thing and he had like like bandages all around and like the the pus from his eye would leak out on these bandages and they would need to like clean his bandages the bandages with the nasty yeah from st. Paul's nasty I think those bandages says that those did miracles that they would have a demon for this person they would take the bandage and they would touch him with the bandages of the nasty junk from his eye and that stuff did miracles so if anyone who believed that God can do mighty works and can remove the adversity and move the pain out of his life it was st. Paul and st. Paul said I ain't praying for that because I discomfort I discovered something better than God removing the adversity giving me his comfort so that I can comfort others he goes on verse 5 for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so also I'm sorry so our comfort also abounds through Christ all right this verse right here what he does think of it like an equation I'm like a analytical person I like equations there's two sides of this equation and he says this side equals inside a equals B on one side we have the sufferings of Christ on this side on this side we have the comfort of Christ and what he's saying right here is very very very simple as we share in the sufferings of Christ we share in the comfort of Christ what does that mean it means that Christ suffered in the same way that we do correct yes correct two verses from Scripture Hebrews 4 and Hebrews 2 we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin secondly furring that he himself will suffered being tempted he's able to aid those who are tempted Christ suffered everything we suffered anything that you suffered Christ suffered you've been lonely Christ was lonely you've been scared Christ has been a point we all say scared the way we scared but we say that anxious and the way he looked at that cross you've been in a situation you've been betrayed stabbed in the back Christ betrayed and stabbed in the back anything you went through he's been through you've been in a dark dark dark lonely night man he went through the darkest darkest darkest loneliest night sufferings of Christ we share and that's why just so you know that's why he because he suffered this he can comfort this he suffered like us went through everything that we went through all for the purpose that when his children walked through it he can comfort us me with those children in Brighton I couldn't comfort because I hadn't walked that road anything that you're walking right now he's walked that road and if you believe that he's walked it and he's made it through and st. Paul is saying the same way he walked it and made it through he is able to aid those who are walking on that same path correlate that back to us our principle from that our capacity to comfort is determined by the degree to which we've suffered our capacity this is why Christ's capacity is infinite that's why it's the biggest our capacity to comfort is determined by the degree to which we've suffered y'all with me so far now st. Paul's gonna tie it all together because if you agreed on everything I said you're about to not be happy oh I'm about to say next cuz if you agree if you agree nice not me I'm just you agreed you agreed that our capacity to comfort is determined by the degree to which we suffer so little suffering little comfort more suffering more comfort you agreed and then we agreed that comforting is a divine act it's not a human act is a divine act where I am God I am the comforter to other people's lives you agreed on those two watch what's gonna happen to you next verse 6 finish the passage now if we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation now if did you understand what he is saying right here do you understand what he's saying if we are afflicted as for your comfort and salvation st. Paul who endured all those miserable things beaten jailed like every miserable thing says you know what I'm okay with it you know why for your sake because it allowed me to be a comforter for you you can say those words with your waiting room amazing now if we are afflicted it is for your comfort and salvation which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer saying that we endure it so that we can give you comfort which is good so that way when you endure it you do the same thing or if we are comforted is also for your comfort salvation all I care about is your being a comforter for you and our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings so also you will partake of the comfort some of us need to go home and recite read this passage and recite it someone's need to recite it on a daily basis because we st. Paul is saying is very very simple right here what he's saying is when you're in that waiting room parry to life and you don't know what to do do you do when there's nothing you can do him what are you doing is nothing you knew what do you do which you do very practical on again this does not explain everything because there may be other things that you need to be doing but one things that you do is you seek to comfort others and you know what's gonna happen when you seek to comfort others you will be the one who receives more than you give because what you will do is you will become a channel imagine a pipe from God to your neighbor God pouring his comfort to your neighbor I want to be the pipe because you know what happens to the pipe it gets more than it gives as much comfort as I give to you as much comfort I'll be honest and for me very personally as much comfort as much instruction as much whatever as I give you when you're in your hard time believe me believe me I receive more than I give because it's just logic I cannot give more than I have and what God does is when he sees us open to being a vessel for him He pours his comfort through us and it purifies and it cleanses and it brings joy and it brings perspective and it brings everything I become a channel for God's comfort what does that look like reality then practically I just came up with a just a few examples off the top of my head right here and I won't give any names but there's a boy I know okay a boy I know who as a child endure horrible things horrible things no child should go through with this child went through no adult should going through this child went through endured horrible things those horrible things brought this person to a place of a lot of shame a lot of guilt a lot of a lot of stuff is a lot of baggage that comes with that stuff you don't realize and this person sought help and I give this person all the credit in the world for seeking help you know to give more credit for this person then someone else came to me and told me about this same struggle and I reached I don't know what possessed me I reached out to this person and I said hey there's someone else reached out to me who gone through the same thing that you went through and you don't want to talk about it like it took you 10 years to even tell me and we're close as anything it took you ten years tell me would you be willing to share with this person and help them and that person struggle but that person said yes and I promise you I saw that person their healing process was going like this after that moment it was going like this and I saw it go leaps and bounds because that person said I'm willing not just to receive comfort but I'm willing to give comfort and that person received more than anyone else another example there's another man as a married couple but specifically it's the man who as a child suffered his parents had a a mental disorder okay a very bad one I don't know what it's called but very very bad what he suffered a lot okay because of his parents like I want to say schizophrenia but don't quote me on that one either way don't know who this doesn't matter let's say schizophrenia okay something very bad this person saw days again horrible I'd be out on the street like horrible horrible days as this person made it okay and that eventually got married and had kids and the person had multiple kids and then this person noticed that there is another member in his family who seems to be exhibiting the same characteristics as the parents and he saw the same disorder now history repeating itself and he saw the toll it was taking on the children do you know what he did he adopted those children even though he didn't have the capacity to adopt them and this was like this was a big thing or here he had his own children he's already struggling with them he adopted those children because he didn't want to see them go through what he went through and he knew that he was uniquely qualified to see them through that time and help them get through it third example this when I can use names public figure Rick Warren and his wife Kay Warren ok spoke about this before when this happened for those who don't know Rick Warren is a pastor out in California he's very successful in his ministry his youngest son took his own life he suffered from a mental illness as well and they didn't speak about it for years because it was something they were really struggling with and then he eventually took his own life and if you hear about how he did it like it was it was his very difficult ok very difficult is all I'll say and there's a man of God right here this is the preacher man and it's crushed him as you can imagine is crushed but I give him all the credit in the whole wide world because you know what he did after that after taking you know 6 months whatever was to kind of kind of you know sort himself out he came back to his church and he stood up in front of his old church found the whole wide world he's got a big platform he said we're gonna remove the stigma from mental illness because he said it wasn't right that my son who had this mental illness some people are born they have a problem in their elbow no problem somebody other problem their need no problem he had a problem in his brain why should he be embarrassing it Why should there be a stigma and he said you know what I'm making the rest of my life's mission to remove the stigma from mental illness I gave him all the credit the whole I broke because every time they think about mental illness all are doing is opening their own room to their own pain and he said he started part of the whole church and said anyone who struggles with mental illness you have a home right here and it just so you know about us preachers who staying up here on stage we stand here in front of the churches no preachers are gonna say he wants people mental illness in his church you're gonna say mental illness go to the next guy's church he said up in front of it the whole world is that if you struggle with a mental illness there is no stigma you are welcome here in this church and we will take care of it we will remove that stigma and I gave him all the credit in the whole wide world three examples and all he wanted you to learn those three examples I'm not trying to make you feel like those three people like you're miserable you stink and though some people are good I'm not trying to say that but what I'm trying to say is there are real people out there flesh-and-blood like me and you who take this stuff seriously and have opened their hearts the pain in their hearts the wound inside them open it and been willing to let God use them to comfort others and I promise you those people have received more comfort than they've given I started this series by asking this question what are you doing there's nothing you can do and I can't say that I've answered it and given you a detailed plan of everything that you should do but I gave you some ideas and I hope that you walk out of this series with a few ideas of what you should be doing and again this is not a comprehensive list but we saw that at the very beginning of this series the first we're gonna do is we're gonna believe we are going to believe we're gonna trust we're gonna have faith and we are not going to doubt God's existence or God's goodness or God's love because we realize that as I said every week I said it three times today I said at least two times every every Sunday is that a good God and adversity are not exclusive with one another we believe that God has a plan and God has a purpose God's gonna see me through and as we do that we are going to do the opposite of what's natural to us as it's natural to us to resist the adversity and to push it away we will embrace it and we will say this is a gift from God and your friends around you will say you're a nutcase how you said this is a gift from God this is a curse we will say you don't know what you're talking about and we believe that when we embrace it as a gift God will unleash His grace upon us in a way that is not comprehensible by most people and through that we will seek and pray to discover the mystery of being content the Lord let me understand this mystery of you and me and me and you and when I'm in you and you and me I don't need anything I learned the mystery of the secret of being content whether I have many things I have no things this mystery that I can do all this through Christ who is in me who gives me strength and then I will be patient and I will endure all right I've kind of confirmed myself but I need to be patient because like we said that faith plus patience is unstoppable because when God is working if I trust in him and I'm willing to be patient with him inevitable the results will be good think about it I was think about like a trainer when you go to a gym if I got a world-class trainer whose results are impeccable and he says do this do this do this I need two things to be able to know I'm gonna have success I need to trust what he's gonna say and he be patient and stick with it if I stick with this world-class trainer for two years I do everything he tells me for two years the likelihood of me looking like I look like today is slim to none i'ma look I mean you know what I mean okay i'ma look like I'm in pretty good shape if I've trusted him and been patient with him I'm gonna look like in good shape and in the meantime I'm gonna seek to be a blessing seek to be a comfort to others in the meantime because I know that's the channel through which I myself will find the comfort one read these verses one last time and then send pray together and send you off and I want you to take these verses to heart okay like I said some of you may need to read them more when you go home blessed be the God and father you're thinking about your waiting room right now you're thinking about your pain you're saying this blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by my by God my prayer for you as we conclude is that this verse would be on the doorpost of your waiting room and someone comes says oh you must be miserable you're gonna say no father of mercies God have come for he comforts me but I know he does it for a reason and I'm believing and I'm waiting and I'm embracing and I'm content and I'm patient and I know without a shadow of a doubt that in the end what I received is gonna always be greater than what I went through let's stand together and say a prayer the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit one God amen Lord we thank you thank you Lord that that you suffered on this earth from the day you were born Lord your life on this earth all kinds of trials and sufferings and we thank you for that because we know that you understand what we're going through and we know that you can relate to us and we know that you can aid us and comfort us in our sufferings so we pray Lord that you'd give us wisdom to like see things from your perspective to have a greater perspective on things to hold on to you and embrace you no matter what it is that we go through and to always seek to comfort others knowing that we ourselves will always receive more than we give we thank you Lord for always being there for us and no matter what situation and we pray Lord that you would see us through it and that we'd end up this waiting room period when we look back we wouldn't trade we wouldn't ask for it again Lord but we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world we ask these things in the name of your son Jesus Christ with the prayers of all your saints here says we pray thankfully our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us an evil one in Christ Jesus our Lord for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory forever amen thank you all very much remember next week we will not be having the well because we're celebrated PIFAN II but I'll see you in two weeks for friends and family day