As I sat in my car reading on my lunch hour last Tuesday, these verses jumped out at me. A few days before, I had re-read a few chapters of The Kingdom Belongs to Little Children by Barry Adams. In his chapter on comfort he said something so true. He said "as they (children) get older, their need for comfort doesn't change, but their pursuit of it does). How much more true this is of adults.
As small children we naturally run to our parents for comfort-a place of security and assurance that everything will work out. As adults, our culture tells us to buck up, be tough and just bear it. The Christian world tells us that to need comfort is lack of faith. Seeking true comfort is discouraged because it requires vulnerability and is seen as weakness. That doesn't change our need of it. So, we end up seeking comfort outside of true comfort and think it will be found in stuff, the refrigerator, a bottle, money, position and other worldly pleasures.
True comfort can still be found in our parent, Father God. As Mr. Adams says, "when we are aware of our need for comfort, we are more likely to position our hearts to receive it in the times we need it."
So often we go to God with our Bible verses, our faith talk, and our knowledge of His ways thinking that He will be so impressed that the result will be peace. And yet, peace is fleeting, and we wonder what went wrong. I think that very often what we need to do instead is to run to God and fall into His lap and tell Him that we just need His comfort. We need for Him to hold us and tell us that everything is going to be alright. Then we can stand in faith with his Word and know that all will be well. In her song “Cling”, Shannon Wexelberg sings “with your arms around me, your peace surrounds me. And may it only be You, I cling to.” This is the picture that comes to my mind when I think of the comfort of God. I see myself as a little child hugging the neck of my father and laying my head on his shoulder as he gently strokes my hair and assures me that everything will be alright.
As the verse says, He is the "Father of all mercies 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."
He is merciful and the God of all comfort. He gives mercy and comfort to us as a Father gives mercy and comfort to His children when they are in distress.
I used to look at my troubles as means to gain experience so that when I crossed paths with someone in the same situation, I would have a way to offer them comfort. I now see the danger of pride in this way of thinking. We have nothing to offer them except what God has given us. HE is the God of ALL comfort-every kind of comfort-who comforts us in our troubles. No matter what someone is suffering through, our experiential knowledge may help in a small, practical way but it will not offer true comfort. What will be true comfort to them is to assure them that God is the God of ALL comfort and that HE will comfort them just as He comforted us because He is the Father of all mercies and not a respecter of persons.
Do you have troubles? Do you need comfort? Go to God as a child goes to his parent when needing comfort and receive a true comfort that leads to deep, lasting peace.