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First World Problems? No Problem!

Suffering Comfort Patience

Contributed By: Rob Tucker | Date Posted: 2019-01-19

Scripture: Philippians 2:7 ; James 1:2

Author: Rob Tucker
2

ILLUSTRATION

As Americans, we are often easily frustrated with what are called First World Problems.  Here are a few examples (feel free to add your own!):

• When you say something on social media which you think is really clever, but hardly anyone "likes" it!

• When your kids put dishes in the dishwasher, BEFORE they unload it. Now, you have to play the game of which one is clean.

• When you run out of hot water for the shower because someone else took too long.

• When you and your spouse can’t agree on what temperature to keep the thermostat.

• When your phone battery dies before you get home from work to charge it.

• When you're eating chips, crunching so loudly that you can’t hear the TV. So annoying!

• When you get chicken tenders from the drive through, but they forget the dipping sauce.

APPLICATION

For most of us, the worst discomforts we face each week are trivial. That's why it is so hard to relate to all that Jesus did for us when he came to earth and suffered on the cross. The Bible says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance" (James 1:2, 3).

Every time we patiently endure suffering, major or minor, we become a little bit more like Christ. But don't be concerned if you blow it over some trivial thing.  God will give you another chance, and another, and another, etc., until, with practice, you demonstrate the longsuffering of Jesus. 

First world problems are no problem to God.  Rather, each one is an opportunity for you and me to grow in Christlikeness.  

Beauty on Rust

Death Grief Comfort

Contributed By: Scott Roberts | Date Posted: 2015-06-19

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:4

Author: Scott Roberts
3

ILLUSTRATION

The trip was unplanned. I had received a phone call from a close friend telling me his 15 year old daughter was about to die. In a few short hours, my family and I were on the road for a grueling 24 continuous hours of driving in order to be with my friend and his family.  

While driving and praying and crying I looked out my window somewhere in southern Washington and saw the train tracks near the river in the valley below.  On the tracks sat rusty old boxcars, one after another, when suddenly, a series of cars brightened up that morning sky. They had been hit by graffiti artists, but instead of the normal tagging so common in the inner city, these were truly works of art.  Each car was decorated with beautiful colors. Each car stepped off the tracks and opened up a new world of possibility and color. At that moment, I remember being struck by the raw beauty painted upon the rusty shells of the old cars.

APPLICATION

Death, loss, grief and such are like that. For the longest time they seem just that - dreary and blah. They take their toll on our souls and rightly so. But then, God is able to shine into the darkness and paint new pictures over our pain, over our suffering, over our crying and tears, and he uses that new scene to comfort others who are coming into their own dark places.  

We comfort with the comfort we ourselves have received. Does the pain disappear? No, the rusty veneer is still beneath. But does hope grant us a new vantage point from which to see and serve? Certainly. This is the wonder of the gospel. Death is swallowed up in victory and light triumphs over darkness.  

"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).

Buried Grief

Grief Bitterness Comfort

Source: Preaching Today, Sermon Tape #108

Contributed By: John Reed | Date Posted: 2015-01-02

Author: Bill Hybels
11

ILLUSTRATION

"Fifty years ago industrialists thought they could just bury toxic waste and it would go away. We have since learned it doesn't just go away. It makes trouble. It leaks into the water table, contaminates crops, and kills animals."

Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. Hybels received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill.

APPLICATION

"Buried grief does the same thing. Raw time doesn't heal a thing. Buried pain leaks into our emotional system and wreaks havoc there. It distorts our perceptions of life, and it taints our relationships. That contamination happens subconsciously."

Great Tip for Terrible Service

Empathy Grace Comfort

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-06

Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 ; Romans 12:15

Author: ABC News Staff - Good Morning America / Illustrati
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Bristly Buddies

Friendship Comfort Compassion

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-05-12

Scripture: Romans 12:10

Author: Charles Swindoll
3

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From Auschwitz to the Modern Workplace

Comfort Encouragement Trials

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-01

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:4

Author: Illustration Exchange
1

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Right Visit, Wrong Course

Comfort Words (Power of) Friendship

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-09-27

Scripture: Job 16:2

Author: William Gurnall
3

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Pick 'Em Up and Lay 'Em Down

Affliction Comfort God's Care

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-06-07

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3

Author: Karl Haffner
5

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The Eye of the Colossal Squid

God's Omnipresence God's Omniscience Comfort

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-05-06

Scripture: Psalms 33:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
1

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Stars and Sorrows

God's Care Mercy Comfort

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-03-02

Scripture: Psalms 148:3

Author: J. Stuart Holden
5

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