In what I suspect might be an April Fools’ Day joke, Pastor Kim has allowed me to post some links this week for the church family. But, the topic is far from humorous. In fact, this week’s small group study focuses on suffering and comfort, and that’s what I wanted to look at today.
In 2 Cor 1:3-5, Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and 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. (5) For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
The thought is simple enough, but profound. Christians see suffering and affliction as more than just something we must fight through, suffering in our lives is actually grace to us, and can be a grace to others. God uses suffering in the Christian’s life to make us more like Christ, and so that those who suffer can bring the comfort of God to others. The struggle for us is often to believe that God uses suffering in the lives of his people for their good and his glory.
In light of this, our links this week focus on how we can undersand suffering, and comfort those who are going through suffering.
In this article, Joseph Scheumann gives 5 reminders of how the Bible teaches Christians to view suffering. These can help re-orient us away from the temptation to see our suffering as random and pointless.
The Grace of Suffering in the Kajikawa Family
This 15 minute audio clip is from a sharing we had a few years back at Lighthouse while preaching through the grace of suffering in the book of James. In this testimony, Pastor Gavin and Lorraine share about God’s grace in their struggle to have children. Hopefully it will be a blessing to you.
This link is a little different, in that if focuses of suffering in the lives of those who brought the gospel to the unreached. John Piper tells in this short PDF the compelling stories of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton, and the suffering they endured for the glory of Christ.
Jesus’ words in John 12 are sobering: unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it will bear little fruit. The history of Christianity’s expansion proves that God’s strategy for reaching unreached peoples with the gospel includes the sufferings of his frontline heralds-the missionaries who willingly die a thousand daily deaths to advance God’s kingdom.
In this short article Amy Baker looks into the ways we give comfort that aren’t all that comforting. She shows us two types of “comforting” we are tempted to do in the midst of suffering that are not genuine comfort according to the Bible.
Finally, since Pastor Kim isn’t here I thought I’d post an extra special link to celebrate April 1. As you all know, Pastor Kim is a big fan of veggies. So here’s a great review of some of the best places to go in LA for your vegan or vegetarian fix.