Stick Tight: Glue Yourself to Godly Friends (Early Teen Discipleship)
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.: Your Pain, Their Gain (Comforting your friends)
When Tara’s dad fell sick with cancer, slid into a coma, and died, Jamal was the only person who could get through to Tara. She listened quietly to what Jamal said, chewing on every word. Jamal’s own dad, after all, had died a couple years before—but of a heart attack. Tara and Jamal spent long hours talking about how bad the whole thing hurt, how life would change, and how they could survive. To be honest, Tara would have crumpled into a lump of permanent sadness if he hadn’t been around.
BRAIN DRAIN When has a friend helped you through something painful—major or minor? How did he or she know how to help?
FLASHBACK Paul often starts his Bible letters with a longish prayer for his readers, like in Colossians 1:3–12. When he starts his letter to the Corinthians by asking them to pray for him, you can be sure he’s been through a massively painful experience. But look at what he does with those hurts.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:3–11
(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (6) If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. (7) And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.(8) We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. (9) Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (10) He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, (11) as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
STUFF TO KNOW Lots of folks see God as a smoke-spewing meanie. But what does this Bible Chunk call him (verse 3)?
What does God do to care for you when life gets ghastly (verses 4=–5)?
If you followed Paul’s example, what would you do with the help God gives you when you suffer (verses 4, 6)?
INSIGHT A nasty situation won’t suddenly feel nice just because you know you can pass on to other hurting people everything you’re learning. But it’s a fact that you usually get a chance to take what you suffer and turn it around for someone else’s good. Paul boldly believes that whatever happens to him—good or bad—will benefit others. He also points out that whatever suffering comes his way for being a Christian, God has an even bigger heap of comfort.
DA’SCOOP Comfort isn’t just patting someone on the back until she feels better. It means coming to someone’s side to relieve pain and anxiety. It’s help, consolation, and encouragement. Often you provide comfort by just listening.
Does it sound like Paul’s life had been really happy lately (verse 8)? How bad was it (verses 8–9)?
INSIGHT The “province of Asia” Paul talks about isn’t anywhere near China. It’s in modern-day Turkey, a few hundred miles from his readers in Corinth, Greece.
What other lesson has Paul gained from his experience (verse 9)?
SIDELIGHT Paul isn’t just talking about trivial pains. In 2 Corinthians 11:23–29 you can read about other hurts he suffered—everything from shipwrecks to stonings.
BIG QUESTIONS What are the toughest things you’ve faced in life?
Have you gotten hold of God’s comfort for those situations? How have God and other people helped you?
If you have gotten comfort in those situations, then what kind of comfort can you offer other hurting people—people in the same or similar circumstances? Who needs your help right now?
DEEP THOT Hardly anyone in a tough situation likes to hear that God will use their pain for someone else’s gain. But once you can look back and see how God stuck with you through it all, then you might be ready to comfort others with the comfort he gave you. Turning hurts into help is what friends do.
ACT ON IT Comfort doesn’t mean banging people on the head with the raw facts of God’s care. It means getting into their hurt and giving them what they need most—help, consolation, encouragement. Find someone to comfort today.
STICKY STUFF Second Corinthians 1:3–4 shows you how to stick close to your friends when life gets hard.
DIG ON Read about God’s comfort in Psalm 46:1–3.
Title: Stick Tight: Glue Yourself to Godly Friends ...
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Book Condition: Fine
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