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Monday, April 27, 2009

Comfort

If we are honest with ourselves we can all think back to a time when we needed to be comforted and strengthened. Chances are there are some who are reading these words that are in need of comfort and strengthening. Even the most though skinned and hard shelled individuals among us have been in need of comfort at one point or another. Even the righteous have moments of grief, of sadness, and of loneliness, and if you don’t believe me, read Christ’s experience in Gethsemane, and consider the fact that an angel came down from heaven to strengthen Him in the throes of His desperation. We all need to be comforted! We all need to be strengthened sooner or later in our lives.
I can think back, whether to a month ago or years ago, and pinpoint not only the moments I needed to be comforted, but also the means by which my comfort came. Yes, there are multiple sources of comfort, just as there are multiple reasons for why someone would need to be comforted.
I am not one of those people that believes the children of God shouldn’t feel their emotions. I do not believe that once you give your life to Jesus, you’re supposed to live out the rest of your days with a perpetual smile on your face. Great men of God felt grief, great men of God felt sorrow, great men of God mourned and needed to be comforted.
We all know the story of Job, the man who had everything, then had everything taken from him. From losing all of his possessions, to losing all of his children, to breaking out with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, Job was a man who had experienced so much grief, that he needed to be comforted.
Job had three friends, who upon hearing of the adversity that had come upon him, decided to go and visit him, mourn with him, and comfort him. If anyone wants to know what not to do when trying to comfort someone, the actions and conduct of Job’s friends are a perfect example. That however, is a teaching for another time.
When we experience grief, when we experience sorrow, when we experience loss, we need to be comforted. We can’t simply plaster a smile on our faces and pretend we are not going through heartache, we must seek out the necessary comfort, that our wounds might heal, and that our sadness would dissipate.
There are many reasons why one would need comforting, from grief, to sadness, to going through trials, to suffering depression, the list is almost endless. More important however than the reasons why one would need comfort, is where we can find comfort, and how we can discover the sources of comfort in our lives.
The source of one’s comfort can be divided into two categories. There is human comfort, and there is divine or sovereign comfort that comes from God.
Within the category of human comfort, there are five primary sources of which the Bible speaks.
First, for those who are married, a person’s spouse can be a great and ever present source of comfort. One of the first examples of one spouse comforting another in the Bible is Rebekah, comforting Isaac after his mother’s death.
Genesis 24:67, “Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
There are also examples in the Word of husband comforting their wives, such as David comforting his wife Bathsheba. A spouse can choose to be a comfort in times of hardship and distress, or they can choose to take the path of Job’s wife, who provided no comfort for him, but on the contrary encouraged him to curse God and die. Of all the things I am thankful for in this life, the fact that God gave me a comforting wife is very high on the list. Whether it’s just the fact that I had a bad day or something far worse, she is always there with a kind word, and an encouragement.
The second source of comfort is the comfort one receives from their children. When Jacob was confronted with Joseph’s bloody tunic, the Word tells us that all his sons, and all his daughters arose to comfort him. Although some parents might have a hard time seeing it once in awhile, children can be a source comfort.
There are three other sources of human comfort with which I hope to dispense quickly, because I want to get to the sources of divine comfort. Human comfort can also come by way of friends, pastors, and other believers.
As a leader, or a pastor, Paul writes to the Corinthians, and encourages them to comfort even those that have caused grief within the body, and have been punished for their transgressions.
2 Corinthians 2:6-7, “This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.”
My encouragement to you today, is if you see someone grieving, if you see someone in sorrow, be a comfort. Too many today are so obsessed with self, they fail to see what others around them are going through. We are so focused on our own lives, on our own goals, aspirations, and wellbeing, that someone sitting next to us might be in the worst kind of pain, and we don’t even notice it. Be sensitive to the hurts of others, and God will in turn be sensitive to your hurts. Comfort a brother or a sister in Christ, and when you will be in need of comfort God will either comfort you Himself, or send a vessel to comfort you.
Since we should already know that God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, the means by which we receive divine comfort should not surprise us.
Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”
We receive divine comfort by God’s correction, and God’s guidance. He loves us enough to discipline us, and for this we are ever thankful.
We also receive divine comfort through the promises of God. In one of the Psalms, the writer pours out his heart and states, that the comfort in his affliction is remembering God’s word to him. Remember the word of God, remember the promises of God, and you will be comforted in perpetuity. He is a comfort to all who receive Him. Blessed be His name!

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Sam said...

My wife is a wonderful woman of God and has been a great comfort for myself.

This posting is a great reminder to comfort others.