Though it happens in many arenas of life, the world of sports is often plagued with news reports of athletes who have found themselves in challenging circumstances connected in some way to the “party life social scene.” It seems many of them continue to put themselves in places where bad things are likely to happen.
When the details of these stories continue to emerge, many of these incidents happen at 2:00, 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. It makes one wonder if the timing of things don’t reveal that maybe they would have been better off at home instead of out at that time involved in the “party life social scene.”
It seems there are places and times when it is more likely for nothing good to happen, and there is great wisdom in identifying the most likely times and places in our lives and figuring out how to avoid them.
However, there are also times when we face challenging circumstances that seem like nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And there are times in life when we face challenging circumstances and there is no explanation at all, other than we live in a chaotic, messed up world.
In the midst of challenging circumstances, it’s easy to feel stuck and for it to seem like there’s nothing we can do. It doesn’t appear the circumstances will ever change (unless they get worse). In these kinds of times, it’s easy to believe that nothing good can come from the circumstances.
In part 6 (Leaving the Lies) of CCC’s Stuck? series, part of a letter written to the 1st century church in Corinth by the early church leader, Paul exposes the “nothing good can happen” as a lie we must leave behind. Something good can come from “feeling stuck” circumstances – even if the circumstances never change.
Check out the good that can happen in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 and the next step of considering the following questions about leaving behind the lie.
- When do you find is the time when bad things are likely to happen (nothing good happens after midnight)?
- What types of places seem to be where bad things are likely to happen?
- How would you describe compassion?
- How would you describe comfort?
- Would you consider God as the source of compassion and comfort? Why or why not?
- When you’ve felt stuck, would you say you have felt God comfort you in those troubles? Why or why not?
- What do you think about the idea that God comforts you so you can comfort others?
- In what ways can receiving comfort from God equip and position you to comfort others?
- What are some ways others can provide comfort to you when you feel stuck?
- What do you think it means to share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ?
- What does it mean to you that Christ suffered and understands all the challenging circumstances we face?
- How does comfort in challenging circumstances produce patient endurance?
- What next steps will you take to see comfort with the comfort you’ve received?
When we face “feeling stuck” circumstances, we don’t usually ask God for comfort; instead we tend to ask God to change our circumstances. After all, for most of us if we didn’t face challenging circumstances, we would have no need to be comforted.
Not only do we not ask God for comfort, but we don’t usually ask for comfort so that we can comfort others. Instead, if we ask for comfort, it’s so we can be comforted. Yet, God uses the circumstances he may not choose to change to do something in us to do something through us.
Challenging circumstances put what we believe to the test like practically nothing else. Challenging circumstances can prompt us to lean into God’s grace like practically nothing else. Challenging circumstances can uniquely equip and position us to comfort whose who need comfort with the comfort we’ve received from God (who is full of compassion, the source of all comfort, and does indeed comfort us in all our troubles).
Today is Monday – make it a day you receive God’s comfort and comfort those who need comforting!