The God of All Comfort
In today’s culture, we’ve become quick to label items as ‘comfort foods’ or
service animals as ‘comfort animals’. I’m the first to admit indulgences to warm-and-gooey cinnamon-anything that brings a sense of fullness when feeling empty. I’d like to blame that on a childhood of cinnamon toast and brown sugar pop tarts, but it's harder to pin anything on those years, since I’ve now lived decades as an adult.
Recently though, I found myself going to God about a situation because I knew nothing else would work. There were not enough cinnamon rolls in this world to take away the hurt I was feeling. Facing an ambush of harsh words from someone long distant, left me with anguish over this broken relationship and heartache deep within. As I dried my tears, I knew it was time to go to God for some words of assurance.
Thankfully, my Pastor had preached the day before on 2 Corinthians and I pulled those notes up in my phone. This verse jumped out to me, even more beautifully than when I heard it in a sermon:
“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, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Cor. 1:3
As I read the words and then re-wrote them in my journal, I immediately felt a peace come over my soul like nothing else. Then the next part of my notes reminded me that Pastor Nick said comfort means “A calling or summoning near. A change in proximity”. God was drawing near to me through Paul’s words to the Corinthians! How does that happen? It is a mystery, for sure, but here are a few things God taught me through the act of being comforted:
This is why I go to church. Being in community is one reason, but also the actual refreshing of worship and hearing the Word regularly, brings repentance in areas where I’ve hardened. Then my mind is more open to hear a new message - even if it’s a passage I’ve studied before.
This is what is meant by ‘a Word in due season’. I’ve read before in Proverbs 15:23 “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” but now I experienced it firsthand. Hearing the passage preached meant one thing, but tucked away and referred to later, felt timed just perfectly for me.
This is why faith is a personal experience. When I read this verse through tear-streaked eyes and a heavy heart, comfort wrapped around me like a big hug. I tried to explain it to someone a few hours later, but words were not adequate. Even now, I feel inept at putting words to the peace I encountered.
Are you carrying a heavy burden or in the midst of troubles? Maybe you’ve also been hurt by another human’s words or actions. His comfort is real and Jesus will draw near to you, precious one. This chapter in 2 Corinthians 1 is a great one to keep tagged and so is Philipians 4. But I also know God has a word in due season for each one of us, so keep your heart and ears open. It’s way less calories and way more fulfilling than any comfort the world offers. Note: If you’d like to hear the full teaching on this passage, you can listen to it here.