Life hurts sometimes. We all face times of loss, disappointment, hardship, discouragement, and doubt.
Read how Paul describes his situation in his letter to the Corinthian church in the first century:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. —2 Corinthians 1:8-9
Can you relate to any of these thoughts or feelings? Burdened beyond your strength? Despair? Affliction?
The word for burdened in the original language of Scripture means heaviness, weight, burden, trouble. If you continue reading, Paul gives us the proper perspective to adopt in the midst of hardship:
But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. —2 Corinthians 1:9-10
We have hope! As painful and uncomfortable as these situations may be, they serve to teach us to rely on God. We read that God delivered, will deliver, and will deliver us again. That’s good news!
My idea of deliverance from something painful or difficult is very different from what is promised in this verse. The word for deliver in the original language means to draw to one’s self, to rescue. I often want the deliverance to be out of or the end to a difficult circumstance!
But God delivers by drawing me to Himself. He is my place of refuge, security, hope, peace and joy in the midst! Because…He IS hope. He IS peace. He IS joy. He IS steadfast and immovable. He IS the source of my hope, joy, contentment, and peace in life. None of these are dependent upon my circumstances, but are found in knowing and trusting in the character of God. He IS faithful and trustworthy!
God is our refuge and comfort in times of difficulty and despair. As we walk in love, we extend this same comfort and encouragement to others. We are not called to bear life’s difficulties alone.
We need one another in these difficult and discouraging times in our lives.
1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us that love bears all things (or protects in the NIV translation).
Love bears all things… 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)
Love always protects… —1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)
In 1 Corinthians 13:7, the word for bears or protects in the original language means to protect by covering to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, hold out against, and so endure, bear, forbear. We are called to a walk of love that bears and protects—a love that bears one another’s burdens.
LOVE bears all things, so WALK bearing burdens and encouraging one another.
Galatians gives us further insight into what it means to have a love that protects or bears all things.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2
This love-walk involves bearing burdens and encouraging others as they walk through times of hardship, difficulty, and discouragement.
The word for bear in Galatians 6:2 is a different word (in the original language of Scripture) from bears in 1 Corinthians 13. In Galatians to bear with one another means to take up with the hands in order to carry or bear; to uphold, to support, to give slack to. Because love endures or forbears, we are called to bear one another’s burdens. I love the word picture for bearing burdens of others. It speaks of one who takes into their hands and lends support.
We show love by bearing with others as we come alongside and comfort them in their time of brokenness and discouragement.
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 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. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The word comfort used in 2 Corinthians is paraklesis, which means a calling near, to encourage, console, comfort. We comfort as we come alongside to encourage through a listening ear, a word of Truth, a hug, a prayer, a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, and a heart that sympathizes and points to Christ instead of judging.
We show love by bearing with others who are struggling in life, with their faith, or with sin. We are not called to pass judgment, but in love to point them to truth.
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. —Romans 14:13
Remember, God is our burden-bearer! He daily bears our burdens and we can rest in His love and care. Jesus is our burden bearer, the One who bore our sin and beckons us to come to Him. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us in our time of need. The Holy Spirit enables us to extend mercy and point others to Jesus in their time of need.
Is there someone you need to encourage, come alongside, and comfort today?
Let the word of God dwell in you richly. Let the living and active Word of God encourage you. Pray these verses for someone in need today. Perhaps that person may even be you..if so, speak these truths to your own heart and mind. I am praying these for those who are in need of encouragement, grace, and comfort today.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah —Psalm 68:19
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall ﬁnd rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. —Matthew 11:28-30
Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. —Psalm 55:22
…casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. —1 Peter 5:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (The Message)
Rejoicing in Him!
For other posts in this series, search the site or category, Walk in Love.
©2013 Walk in Love, Susan Cady, susancady.com