Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where Comfort is Found . . .

Comfort. When I reflect on comfort, childhood memories come to mind. Like the smell of my mother’s pot-roast cooking, the scent and feel of clean sheets, and sitting on my daddy’s lap.

One can find comfort in all shapes, sources, and sizes. But not all of them provide comfort, which is good for us. The wrong source of comfort—for stress and fear, can create addictions, which could have devastating consequences. 

We might easily equate comfort for those who are sick, grieving loss, or the modern comforts of home. Yet we overlook the need for comfort daily. That could be a hug, a touch, a smile, or kind words in the midst of frustration. Although these acts of comfort are beneficial, they may not be long lasting.

Real comfort is from God, which is deeper and provides substance, which is not found elsewhere.

When the weather is too hot and I start to complain, I remember a scene from Schindler's List. A line of boxcars crammed with Jewish people in the heat of the day, preparing to take them to their final and fatal destination, the concentration camps. I can’t imagine the feeling of suffocation and smells of stench. Then my mind shifts to a man whose compassion drove him to do something—Mr. Schindler negotiates with the guards to allow him to shower the boxcars with water from a hose. Of course he was ridiculed. Yet he continued to comfort and ease the people from the scorching heat inside those boxcars.

Although I cannot undo time, by heart weeps for those who suffered in such a way. I thank God my heat wave will only last till the car cools down or I’m inside my air conditioned home.

Comfort is Essential to Human Growth

In an article, The Comfort of a Mother’s Touch the writer states, “For babies, close contact with their mothers is an affirmation of her presence and a comforting feeling of security and love . . . Neurologists have found that the caress of a mother may set in motion certain activities in the brain associated with learning and development,” (, by Fred Lee).
Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Who Switched Off My Brain said, “ . . . if children don’t get enough loving touch and eye contact during the first three years of life when their brains are organizing for independence, their emotional development will be stunted.”

Essentially, besides needing love, comfort is a viable, valuable, and required act people must extend to each other of all ages. For the largest to the smallest of problems.

The word declares, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” (2 Cr. 1:3).

I find these two phrases: Father of compassion, and the God of all comfort, interesting. Was this deliberate to define God as the God of comfort and the Father as the Father of compassion?

This is what comes to my mind and maybe it might render a different way to you—God “fathered” compassion, it’s his seed, a part of who he is . . . God is compassion, compassion is God. For him to be the God of all comfort he must be “compassion.” God as the God of comfort translates to me he is the Ruler of all comfort—the be all and end all of comfort. What more could we ask for?

Doomsday Foretelling and Life Stresses

The other day I read several articles bearing unpleasant news. More often than not our news is saturated with dismal headlines. We hear stories of economic recession, job losses, home foreclosures, and tensions in the Middle East, failures in the economies of countries, babies being kidnapped, and Mother Nature reaping havoc against her self in natural disasters.

Then there are doomsday stories in which California will have a great earthquake and fall into the ocean, or the Asteroid Toutatis smashing into earth thus causing the end of this world, supposedly December 2012.

Closer to home we find: sickness, inadequate finances, disjointed relationships, and those barely hanging on to their sanity while looking for a job. Some days the clouds are darker than others. Fear for our future floods our peace.

For some, all the above mentioned can cause great inner stress and worry, especially if they do not know the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.

Set Our Sights Above

As Christians, to reverse doom and gloom, we must set our sights much higher. The Christian’s belief is based on the faith and facts that Jesus died and rose again. Jesus is the first resurrection, giving us hope. As believers we not only put assurance into Christ our resurrected Lord but the promise of his return, (Revelations 22:7 & 12).

The Word states, “ . . . we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive our life will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words,” (1 Thessalonians 4-14-18 NIV; italics mine).

Also we are promised though we walk “through the valley of the shadow of death,” we do not need to fear evil because God is with us and his rod and staff, they “comfort” us, (Psalms 23:4). Strong’s concordance stipulates that this comfort is Piel, which means to comfort, and “It sometimes includes the notion of help put forth, when used of God.” Comfort provides encouragement, compassion as well it consoles.

When we set our sights above we put our world into perspective. “ . . . though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day,” (Psalm 46:2-5).

In our troubled times, we need comfort. Comfort stimulates positive chemicals in our brains, and gives us a sense of well-being. We find that most people and things are inept to comfort us; the only comfort, which consoles and encourages us is that of God’s.

You might be asking how do I get that comfort when my life is falling apart?
  1. You ask for it (Matthew 7:7)
  2. You believe in the God who provides it (Hebrews 11:6)
  3. You draw near to Christ who is our peace and comfort (Romans 5:1)
  4. You set your sights on what will be not what is (2 Corinthians 4:18)
  5. You remember earth is only your home away from home (Philippians 3:20)
  6. You have faith that the best is yet to come (1 Corinthians 2:9)

 Let us comfort and encourage each other with this knowledge:
  • Jesus died and rose again (Acts 10:41)
  • Jesus is the resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
  • At the trumpet call of God the dead in Christ will be raised as Christ descends from Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
  • Those who are alive on earth will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (Halleluiah!) (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
  • And so we will be with the Lord forever (Amen, 1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Our Father in Heaven, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, cause us to fix our eyes on Heaven above, not the trials here on earth. Remind us of your Sovereignty.

We thank you Father for providing us comfort in the resurrected Christ. Help us to look toward our Lord that we may see you, know you, and most of all trust you that what is, is only a fraction of our life here on earth when compared to all eternity in which we will live with you.
 Also we ask Father that in your mercy you comfort the hurting, the sick, the poor, and those being mistreated around our world. Grant us the ability to comfort others with the comfort we have received from you.
In Jesus Name, Amen!

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