Sunday, August 03, 2014

Get In Your Comfort Zone!

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us"  2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT).

What happened immediately after NBA Indiana Pacers star Paul George sustained a terrible leg injury on Friday night serves as life application for this week's Bible lesson in 2 Corinthians Chapter 1:3-11. Someone got in their " comfort zone."  When the word "zone" is mentioned with basketball, it often refers to either a type of defense or the exceptional athleticism of a particular player.  In this case, it was neither. Neither was it a couch potato position on recliner to see the rest of the story.  It was a zone of exceptional Christ-like consolation extended to another individual in their time of need.  It was the "comfort zone," that the apostle Paul wrote about in his second letter to the church at Corinth. The apostle Paul stated, "He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."   

It was former University of Louisville player Kevin Ware who got in his "comfort zone."  Right after Paul George experienced the leg injury, it was clear that everyone was affected in some way by the incident. The game was called in the fourth quarter, and the thoughts and prayers of the league officials were with George and his wellbeing.  But it was Ware who comforted Paul just has he himself had been comforted by God.

The sports commentators recalled how Kevin Ware sustained a similar injury on Easter Sunday 2013.  They referenced a tweet of comfort and encouragement that Ware tweeted early on after the accident:
Minor setback for a major comeback PG.
— Kevin Ware (@5Juice) August 2, 2014
ESPN spoke with Ware by phone about an hour after George was transported to the hospital. Ware commented on his own injury and what he experienced moments after it happened. Having received much comfort and prayer in his gruesome ordeal, Ware was able to speak words of comfort and reassurance to Paul George through that interview, stating confidently that he thought through much prayer and remaining positive, George would be able to heal and return to the game.  While others comforted George, Ware's words were particularly meaningful because had been through what George was experiencing.
As we read down further into the text for the lesson, I believe the apostle Paul gives an answer as to why bad things happen to good people.  It is so we can learn to rely solely on God.  About his own ordeal Paul said, "We expected to die.  But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead" (v9).   Our trials strengthen our relationship with God.  And the good news is God is right there in the midst.  The comfort we receive from God is not for us solely.  We receive it to share it and help strengthen others in their "going through" situations.     Let us get out of our zones of comfort and get in our "comfort zones," and intentionally look for ways to comfort others just as we have been comforted by God. Jesus saves!

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