Comfort Comes From God
Every single one of us needs comfort.
In the Scriptures, in 1 Peter, it says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” It doesn’t say, “In case you have anxiety, in the off chance…” There’s an assumption here.
Cast your anxieties, because you will have anxieties. They will come, and this Scripture tells us what we are to do with them. The fact is we all need comfort. Matthew 5 says: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This passage doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be given time to heal.”
True healing comes when we mourn the wrong in our lives, the things that happen that really should not happen. When we mourn, we receive comfort.
But we have to do something courageous. We have to admit, first of all, that every one of us needs comfort. In the Christmas story, the great message we receive is that God has brought us comfort. This is what the prophet says: “the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” Comfort, in Greek, is a word called parakaleo. Para is to come in close contact with and kaleo is to call.
“Comfort” is to come close.
God is now with us, and comfort comes from him. Hebrews 4 says: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way…”
That word, “tempted” is sometimes translated who has been “tested” through suffering. Jesus truly understands our challenges. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God comforts us with his presence. He comforts us with his power, and he comforts us because he understands our need. He understands what we all need as far as our hurt, our pain, and our sorrows. He knows you right now.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “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…”
The God of all comfort is the Father of compassion.
In Romans, Paul says, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We have a choice. We can go and receive false comfort from the world, or we can lean into God and receive true comfort. Now false comfort comes in all kinds of ways. We may have a drink or get into drugs. Maybe we go shopping and buy that pair of shoes or the purse. Maybe we watch TV, get on the Internet or go back to a bad relationship.
Those are all temporary comforts. Years ago, when I was just becoming a believer, my son (who was 18 at the time) started using drugs, and at one point he disappeared for a month. He happened to leave me a message in the middle of that month, saying, “Mom, I’m OK. I’m coming home tomorrow,” but tomorrow came and my son did not come.
So I would wake up in the middle of the night with a sense of anxiety for my son – so I would listen to the voicemail, tell myself that he was OK and go back to sleep, because it gave me temporary comfort. But one day it didn’t work. I’d listened to it three times and in this moment of absolute anxiety, I almost ran out the door in my pajamas, looking for my son. Just as I got to the door, I realized, “Where am I going to go? I don’t know where he is!” I fell right there in front of the door and sobbed for my son. As I picked up my head, the light from the street shone through our front door’s window, and on my kitchen cabinet was a perfect cross of light.
That got me thinking of God, and I sensed in my heart, God telling me, “I have him. I love him more than you do. I know where he is. Give him to me. Trust me with your pain.”
At that moment, I surrendered. I said, “God, okay. You know where he is. Be with him. Protect my son.” At that moment, I felt a sense of comfort. It was a lasting comfort.
For seven years, my son struggled with drugs, but through that time, I had the sense of comfort that God had him even when I did not know if he would ever stop. That comfort lasted, and today my son is drug-free, is a believer, and is doing great.
Now, I didn’t know that was going to happen, and that comfort now lasts for me, not just for my son, but also because I understand that God loves my family and my friends more than I do. In that moment, I could choose to go towards false comfort or I could choose to accept God’s comfort.
I can trust him, and that brings me comfort that I am not the one who’s going to solve all of the world’s problems. God is.
In Isaiah 49:13, we receive comfort because God has compassion for each of us. “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”
Or perhaps you need Romans 8:28. God will work all things for good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God does not bring evil into our lives, but when it happens, when hurt comes, God is there to make it good, to make something out of it.
We receive comfort so we can give comfort. I didn’t look forward to experiencing that pain with my son, but today I can comfort others because of what I experienced.
Perhaps you need to claim 2 Corinthians 4:15, because your suffering is not in vain. “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” You may know that what you are dealing with today is not going to go to waste. God is going to use it for his glory, for your benefit, and for the benefit of others.
Or, perhaps, you need Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God is calling each of us to receive his comfort and to be agents of his comfort unto others.