Pastor's Corner
“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 

We have had our share of folks facing challenges in the past few months.  Surgeries, illnesses, broken and strained body parts, old age, allergies… you name it, we seem to have experienced it.
     Between care centers in Greensboro and Clemmons, and hospitals in our town and in Charlotte, I’ve been driving as much as a truck driver.
     And it gives one a chance to think.
     We are all going to face sickness and death at some point.  The issue is, where will we find comfort?  If we say we take comfort in Christ, without understanding who Christ is and why he came, we may find our comfort wanting in tough times.
     I’ve known several people who said they were Christian, only to come into rough times with debilitating doubt and fear.  What struck me most is how all of them focused on themselves, as in, “Why is this happening to me?”
    …As if being Christian means you are entitled never to suffer!
     The true Christian lives a life centered upon Jesus.  She finds her greatest hope in the promise of eternal life in our Lord and Savior.  He takes comfort not in his own ability to overcome challenges, but in the sure and certain knowledge that God will provide, indeed, did provide, through the sacrifice of His only Son, our Lord.
     Confidence not in self, but in Jesus: the same type of confidence that allowed a fallen man like Paul to turn away from early success, power and position, and live a life dedicated to an itinerant preacher named Jesus, travelling far and wide to share the gospel… indeed, dying for that very truth.
     It is confidence that comes from without, not within.  It is based upon God, who provides all lasting strength, all great perseverance to withstand the trials of living in this world.
     That, my friends, is true comfort.  That is real comfort, the kind that lasts and lasts… never letting us down.
      We aren’t talking here, about just a feeling of comfort.  We are talking about lasting comfort, the kind that gives us faith and lasting peace of mind; the kind that doesn’t fade when the news gets worse or the pain increases. 
     We are talking about the comfort of God, who is the Eternal Comforter.
     As Presbyterians, we take it ever further.  Centuries ago, our forefathers gifted us with a Confession of Faith that articulated our belief about the comfort provided by God.
     Based upon the words of Scripture, it goes like this:
     “Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?”
     “A. That I am not my own,1 but belong– body and soul, in life and in death– 2 to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.3 He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4 and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5 He also watches over me in such a way6 that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven:7 in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8 Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life9 and makes me whole-heartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.10”
1.1Cor. 6:19-20 2. Rom. 14:7-9 3. 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14 4. 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2 5. John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11 6. John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5 7. Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18 8. Rom. 8:28 9. Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14 10. Rom. 8:1-17
     I have included the footnotes from the Confession, so that you can refer to the passages when trials present themselves and you need a lift from the blessed Word of God.
     All this to say… take heart!  Ours is not a small, meaningless life wherein we are here 30-100 years then out like a light.  NO! We are children of God, and as such, we live in the knowledge that we will be with Him, and with one another, forever and ever, in the eternal kingdom.
     Pain, suffering, questioning, doubt, anger, vengeance, hatred… all gone when that time comes.  Comfort in the everlasting love of God will rule the day; in fact, every day forever!
     That is the promise of God; a promise made true in the life, death and resurrection of His Son… all for us.
     Christian brothers and sisters keep that in mind as you go about the day.  The work of Jesus is for your salvation.  Yours.
May the God of all comfort and peace keep you.
                                                                                                                                           Yours in Christ,                                                                                                                                                                                      Pastor John