Loving and Supporting Others Through Difficult Times

Esther Kuku shares how the resurrection power of Jesus that raised Him from the dead is transformative and can help us support others going through the challenges of life

Easter is a date in the calendar; however, the resurrection power of Jesus can impact our daily lives all year round. There is no power in the fact that Jesus died on the cross. It is the fact that He conquered death – providing hope and a direct relationship with God for all who believe in Him, and paving the way for us to overcome every difficulty we face.

Resurrection power is transformational for those who are going through really challenging times.

Have you ever tried to comfort someone going through a tough time – such as the death of a loved one, a terminal illness or the pain of divorce? Our natural inclination is to throw our arms around them to try and fix things. Or to try and identify the source of their pain and try to rationalise it to connect with them. In our desire to help we could be misrepresenting God.

People who are hurting will not be healed by tea and sympathy, although of course there is a place for that. However, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, it says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 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. 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.

The word for ‘all comfort’ in this passage is the Greek word ‘paraklesis.’ It means much more than tea and sympathy; it’s about helping and making strong. The amount of repetition of the word ‘comfort’ in these verses demands our attention: nine times, with slight variation for context. Paul is really trying to land his point.

I love this part: exactly what you receive from God, give to someone else. In other words, please don’t give a second-rate type of compassion or comfort to others, but the same level of intensity as you have received from God. Mercy, compassion and forgiveness shouldn’t be diluted or polluted in any way.

If you’ve never been in trouble this is going to be very difficult to do. I am always wary of people who present as perfect. Have you ever seen a young newly married couple sheepishly declare how they never argue or fight? Our revelation of God’s nature and character is aligned to our experience of Him.

If you have never been a recipient of God’s healing power, or never been transformed by the depth of His compassion and comfort in life’s darkest moments, then you may end up offering well-meaning periphery comfort to others that is letter and not Spirit. But once we’ve been in trouble ourselves, it changes how we relate to others; we see ourselves in their situation. And loving those who are suffering becomes a personal gift that is effortless for us to give.

Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross are a reminder that in the end we win. However, we will not proceed painlessly into a victorious future. We will be tested and tried, but His Word confirms we will not be put to shame. His perfect love that casts out fear will give us capacity to move forward into the abundant life we have been promised.

Let’s open our hearts and be bold in our endeavours to bring the healing power of Jesus to those we meet. Let’s be undiluted and honest in our approach. Let’s activate the resurrection power of God in the lives of those who are experiencing difficult times – speaking the work of faith over their lives because it is the Word of God that sets us free.

This is an excerpt from the BRF Lent book, Loving My Neighbour: A Lenten Journey – a co-authored collection of daily Bible readings and reflections from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day.

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