In our culture I fear the word comfort is most defined by that which pertains to ease. Anything that might possess the potential to dis-comfort must be avoided at all costs. Our definition of comfort often has a sense of passivity if not laziness.
We ride in comfort, we walk in comfortable shoes, we lounge in comfortable chairs, and we even eat comfort food.
We sleep beneath comforters on our beds. Actually, here is where someone in our culture seems to get it wrong. Who makes these ten pound, claustrophobic bed coverings that seem to be in every motel and hotel room in the country? When my wife and I check into a motel, which we do often in our travels, one of the first things Linda does is pull that lead impregnated decorative tarp off the bed. Who can sleep under the weight of all that comfort? But I digress…
It’s interesting to note that the first definitions given to us in the older more reliable dictionaries are, “strengthening aid or to give strength and hope to.”Older, more reliable dictionaries define comfort as 'strengthening aid or to give strength and hope to.”Click To Tweet
One does not get a sense from these definitions of passivity or self-ease but rather a call to aid or involve one’s self in the task of strengthening, lifting and encouraging others.
The World, The Devil and The Flesh Are Conspired Against You
Perhaps you are that one who needs this kind of comfort now. Maybe it seems the world, the devil, and the flesh have all conspired to discomfort you. The cares of life, the deceitfulness of riches, the daily news, and just the reality of life in a fallen environment have made you un-comfortable.
So, from where will your comfort come? May I suggest that first and foremost, for the true believer, it will come from within. One of the very names of the Holy Spirit is The Comforter!
Contrary to the doctrinal discrepancies of some, every true believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. What hope could we possibly have of taking one step in Christ without His presence dwelling in us? Scripture tells us, “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9) So then, those who belong to Him, purchased by His blood, saved by grace through faith, have His Spirit and thus possess His very comfort within. For me, I find tremendous comfort in that.
Perhaps Why God Allows Things that Make Us Uncomfortable
The question then becomes, why would God allow the things of life that make us uncomfortable or in need of comfort? The following quote gives us insight:
“Dost though wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow? Wait til ten years have passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art. Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness.”
Streams in the Desert
We have given ourselves to Him, have we not? We have agreed with Romans 12:1 and presented our very bodies to Him, a living sacrifice….which is our reasonable service. Just as He has within us brought necessary comfort in difficult seasons and sent others as emissaries of His comfort to aid and strengthen; so He sends us as ambassadors of His grace to aid, strengthen and comfort others.The question then becomes, why would God allow the things of life that make us uncomfortable or in need of comfort?Click To Tweet
“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.” (Dr. Jowett)
Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Cor. 1:3-4)
And sometimes I feel I’m drowning
In a sea of deep despair
Will the waves of sorrow ever cease to roll
And I wonder in my weakness
Is there anyone who cares
Will I find a peaceful harbor for my soul
Lord please comfort me
Before this undercurrent sweeps me out to sea
Tugging within, it’s sink or swim
Lord please comfort me
words and music Dallas Holm, Mesa 1993
These words are the cry of many a weary soul on life’s tempestuous sea, but they are always heard above the storm by The God of All Comfort!