Monday, 18 March 2013

Sickness and Suffering - Why?

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Sunday, March 17, 2013
This is a sermon review from my home church that I attend regularly. This year for our Lent season we are doing a series on grief and suffering. We are learning how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in difficult situations. The topic this Sunday was   Sickness - what to say to a friend who is suffering.
Our speaker was Mike. He is a Chaplain at one of the larger hospitals in my area.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 
 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Here is some of what Chaplain Mike said:
What do you say when someone has just received bad news from the doctor? How do you speak to a person who is suffering?

We all experience pain. In some ways pain is a good thing. If you bump your toe you experience pain. If you get near a hot stove, the thought of pain from a burn will keep you from touching the hot stove. 

Suffering involves pain, also emotional pain - pain of a life cut short.
There are heartaches that no level of medication can cover. 

The longer the period of suffering lasts, the heavier it becomes, the harder it is to hold up under it.

- comfort comes from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3  describes our Heavenly Father as the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles. It is a promise. God wants to comfort you and He will comfort you.

What is comfort?
To comfort someone is to encourage them with compassion. It is urgent and life changing.
The comfort we have experienced in our own trials is meant to be used to comfort others in their situations.

Many times, when we are in a time of suffering we just want it to be over. But we need to give it time to allow God to work in us.

Three Reasons why God allows Suffering
1) It gives us the capacity to enter into other people's suffering.
* your suffering is not just for you
* don't waste what you are going through
* use it as a ministry tool when possible

2) We can learn to rely on God
* 2 Corinthians 1: 8-9 ... that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
* the suffering is so bad we want out but we need to rely on God
* suffering makes the lesson stick
* suffering makes us realize how much we need God ALWAYS

3) It helps us to learn to give thanks in everything
* we learn to know the Hand that feeds us and takes care of us
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Way to Comfort people
Key - to say very little
1) be present - just be there even if it is uncomfortable or awkward
* don't be afraid when nothing is being said
* don't be afraid if it is awkward

2) listen - 
* by listening you validate the suffering person's feelings
* just sit, allow them to talk and just listen
* you will hear them say things like: money has not fulfilled life's dream, generosity is important, family is important, wish spent more time with loved ones, etc

3) Pray - ask the person if you can pray with them
* we serve a loving God who cares for us

What suffering have you experienced?
It was not meant to be wasted.
You have been ordained to comfort others.

If you are suffering, tell someone, reach out to others and allow them to comfort you.
Use your own suffering to help and comfort others.
We will all face suffering.

Develop a strong faith in Jesus now. Develop a strong relationship with Jesus now!

Next Sunday Pastor Ben will answer questions that have come in over the last couple of weeks.

Thought for the week: Christians keep the faith.... but not from others!

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