After my Dad’s funeral I wanted so badly to return to my own bed in my own house with my books and things around me. There is comfort in familiar things. I wanted so badly to be physically near my friends and my neighbors and my brother. There is comfort in having those you love physically near you. But my things are in storage somewhere in Illinois and my friends and family are two states away.
So through one of the most difficult seasons of my life I am learning to find comfort in other ways. First and foremost, from the God of all comfort and then through things like modern technology. The phone calls, the texts, Face Timing, a kind comment on Facebook offer comfort. The written words that come in the mail offer comfort. Reaching out to total strangers with whom I share a mutual acquaintance also offers comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be 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 have received from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
Take a minute to really pause and reflect on these words. Whatever hard places, hard things or hard people you are struggling with right now our God is the God of all comfort. In the middle of the night when you cannot sleep – He is there. When you feel like you cannot make it through the next day, hour, or minute – He is there. When you feel like the pain may literally tear you apart – He is there. When you feel submerged by grief – He is there.
God created us to comfort others in the way that we have been comforted. My Dad’s death was the first major loss of someone in my immediate family. Prior to this I could sympathize with someone who endured the significant loss of a loved one but realize now that I did not truly understand because I had not experienced it myself. I can pray for, love on, and support a friend who has suffered through the pain of divorce or infertility but there is a difference when the person who has experienced it themselves comes alongside you.
And when you need “God with skin” He planned for that too. He created us to be in relationship with Him and with those around us. He purposed the hard things to be used for his glory and for the good of others. It takes courage to be real. It takes courage to expose the hard stuff, the ugly stuff, the areas where we feel defeated. Sometimes it just takes courage to let others see our tears or how very much we are hurting.
It is in that place of vulnerability that we can truly offer comfort to someone else out of the pain that we ourselves have experienced. Doing this takes time. Time to slow down and really see the people around us. Time to come alongside them. Time to look them in the eye and tell them that you truly understand because you have been there yourself. Trust me when I say this is time well spent!
Precious Father. Thank you that you are the God of all comfort. Thank you that you have created us to comfort others in the way that we ourselves have been comforted. Give us courage to share our own hurts and come alongside the hurting people around us. Amen.