Comfort for the Afflicted: God’s People and the Coronavirus

Our church still isn’t gathering on Sunday morning, but we are gathering around our scattered screens to sing and to pray and to hear a message from God’s word. Yesterday, I delivered a message about finding comfort in the midst of affliction. The text is 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, and you can download it here or listen below. Below the audio is an excerpt:

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Many of you have been experiencing fear and dread at the possibility of contracting COVID-19, of being hospitalized, perhaps even of dying. Some of you are fearful about elderly family members or other loved ones with compromised immune systems.

But even if you aren’t afraid of the coronavirus for health reasons, many of you are certainly worried for financial reasons. As businesses close, jobs have been disappearing. Many in our church have already lost their jobs, and others have been cut back. People don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from, so they are understandably anxious.

And as if all that weren’t bad enough, the one place that we all go every week to get ourselves sorted out—the church—we can’t even go there because gathering would put too many people’s lives at risk. So the one thing that might offer us comfort—gathering with God’s people—has been taken away as well.

The pressing question that we are all facing this morning as we come to God’s word is this. How are we going to hold up under these tremendous burdens and uncertainties? Are we going to let a flood of fear and anxiety wash over us and carry us away into a really dark place? Or will we find Christ sufficient for us in our distress?

The difference between the former and the latter is the difference between faithfulness and sin. It’s the difference between comfort and affliction. It’s the difference between depression and hope. In other words, the difference between fear and faith is all the difference in the world. And the question before us is how do we lay hold of faith without being carried away by fear?

And the answer to that question is simply this. If you want to find the path of faith and hope and light and goodness and avoid the path of fear and depression and darkness, then you have to find your comfort in Christ. Jesus is offering you comfort this morning. And it is yours for the taking, if you’ll have it.

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