I encourage you to be Christians who comfort for Christ
Comfort is such a wonderful capacity within the human heart. After all, we’ve been made in the image of God who is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). It’s a soothing experience which affirms of the right, good, and lasting things in a relationship even while disaster may be happening. Comfort layers the realisation of peace, love, and personal acceptance upon the distressed soul.
Most of us, at some point, have appreciated the comfort of others; likewise we’ve appreciated the comfort Jesus Christ gives during great anxiety. However, as ambassadors for Christ, we Christians are “able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
During Job’s terrible time of misery, his 3 friends “made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him” (Job 2:11). Their intentions and motives were great, even if their words later fell short. Never-the-less, these friends started out doing something beautiful for their friend Job, who had lost everything within 24 hours. First, they recognised Job’s severe suffering. Second, they felt compassion and sympathy. Third, they put their sympathy into action by going to do something about it. Fourth, they didn’t simply barge in, they made an appointment. There are no bullies in God’s work of comfort. Fifth, they endeavoured to impart to Job forms of compassions which would ease his discomfort.
Here’s the distinguishing nature of godly comfort; while recognising that we may not be able to remove pain, we are able to help the troubled person to focus on the certainties they have in Jesus Christ. To assist them to bring to the forefront of their thinking that eternal nature of God’s promises and the life He has gifted them within Christ. King David said it like this; “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalms 119:50).
David knew what it was to live in great happiness, and also to plunge into the depths of dark despair. Yet, even when he experienced the realities of isolation and loneliness, he still chose to fix his attention on the eternal and secure resources of God. “Even 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” (Psalms 23:4).
The fact is; God does not always remove suffering. But He does remain actively present in our lives during those times, even if we can’t perceive His presence. Like David, we can assure ourselves that in spite of how we feel; we don’t have to be overwhelmed by the fear of evil being done to us. Our knowledge of the loving, eternal, and sovereign character of Almighty God is the source of soothing security during the greatest of pains (Psalms 119:76).
In our human relationships, disturbance is inevitable at some point. Yet, for the child of God, the pain of a damaged friendship is not the end. Rather, the believer sees the opportunity for the Lord to work His grace, to express His mercy in such a way that would influence the aggrieved person by God towards reconciliation. Comfort is not an end in itself, but it does honour God, sooth the afflicted, and create opportunity for restoration of relationships. “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz