Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seeking comfort during troubled times

As we proceed through our lives in this harsh and imperfect world, the search for peace and comfort becomes harder. A casual glance at the evening news clearly shows that brokenness is this world's king, and Ole Scratch will not ease up until Jesus returns. Fortunately, nobody has to go through all this alone.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3, the Apostle Paul wrote that God is the "God of all comfort," which is one of His most relevant characteristics in our splintered society today. That is not to say some of God's attributes are irrelevant, but the comfort He provides us through the Holy Spirit is one of the tonics we need most. Comfort soothes even the most broken heart.

In his excellent book The Glorious Journey, Charles Stanley wrote: "Comfort is found not in the absence of pain but in the midst of it. So many hurting Christians believe their walk with the Lord is not as it should be because of their intense pain. They don't feel comfortable. Feeling comfortable and being comforted are two different things. The first is a nice feeling but tends to come and go, as feelings do. The second is a fact based on the Comforter, not on circumstances. And He does not come and go: 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'(Hebrews 13:5)."

As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything in our lives. As surely as summer turns into fall, unexpected events occur. People lose jobs, relationships crumble, and people die causing our pain level to change. However, the One who comforts never changes or leaves. He is there just as much during good times, but our human nature sometimes blinds us to that fact.

No one is immune to this. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul wrote that he had a "thorn in my flesh" so troublesome that he cried out to God in despair. Also, Jesus prayed before His arrest and crucifixion for God to "take this cup from me" if possible. So take heart, we are all in good company.

If you are a person suffering a lot of pain, know that this is a bond we all share and you are not alone. One of Satan's most common tactics is to isolate people so that they feel like nobody could understand. If the Holy Spirit puts it on your heart to reach out to somebody, be brave and take that chance. Or, if on the other hand, you suspect somebody around you is experiencing a lot of pain and you feel spiritually led to reach out to him or her, try to do that. It could be a delicate situation, but the potential for good is beyond measure. Remember, we were born to love one another.

Regardless of your situation, always remember you are not alone. Even if circumstances are not as you would like, remember God is there, and He cares. Man is fallible but not Him.

Reference materials: The Holy Bible, 'The Glorious Journey' by Charles Stanley


Mister Jimmy said...

this is a bond we all share
Most of us forget this, most of the time. It's one of the themes of Dickens' Christmas Carol, a novel everyone should read at least once. I try to read it at Christmas every year, but I might read it again right now!

Joltin' Django said...

I just finished reading the Jewish Publication Society's translation of the Torah. Not Christian, I know, but it was an enlightening read what with Passover comin' up and all.