Jesus is Comfort
Our Lord is a gentle, loving, joyful, and powerful Father. He is our protector, our peace, our comforter, our fighter, our EVERYTHING! Focusing on the pruning season and the trials that come isn’t justified without knowing in the end, our comfort comes from God. That’s just what he is – our comforter. He is complex and has all these characteristics and qualities wrapped up in one perfect entity. I am going to focus on the different qualities of God and show you how he is perfectly using his characteristics to impact your life. Jesus is comfort.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
With every hardship, trial, and overwhelming circumstance, it feels like everything that can go wrong goes wrong. Whenever one trial is over, another one is in line waiting to put you through the test. As joyful as we should be as it says in James (1:2-4), rarely is joy the first thought that comes to our minds. Your first reaction is typically sadness, anger, or desperation. When I’m going through something, I have my husband and my tribe of women praying for me and helping me. In my former life, I would go have retail therapy, get my nails done, and get bubble tea or frozen yogurt. That was my comforting fix. My temporary comforting fix. Now though, living in another country, I don’t have my regular bargain stores around or anywhere to spontaneously get my nails done because booking has to be done about 2 weeks out. There’s no bubble tea or frozen yogurt shops to be found. I do have my women tribe, but instead of spontaneous meet ups like in the US, it has to be a scheduled phone call taking into consideration the different time zones. I don’t know about you, but my trials aren’t scheduled. They’re spontaneous and without warning.
Life is always full of challenges. The kind of challenges where you wish you could just stay in bed and eat ice cream while watching Netflix. Especially when, as women, we’re so driven by emotions, and then Mother Nature comes by for a week-long visit and your emotion levels are through the roof. My husband is often very amazed at all the emotions that came out of me in one minute: sadness, happiness, anxiety, hangry (yes, that’s an emotion). He sometimes seems puzzled at how all those emotions are possible; “Well, imagine being the one having them!” I’d tell him. There is only so much frozen yogurt to help with that.
Anyway, off topic.
He is Comfort
You can’t make it through a pruning season alone. Fact. God is the source of comfort. Also fact. He has multiple ways of comforting whether it be through other people, his Word, or, you know, whatever creative, supernatural, out of the ordinary way he shows off his amazing-ness. Like a song perfectly timed on the radio or a beautiful sunset. Jesus is truly the one who is with you in those moments. He sends people to you. He sends specific scriptures to you. He sends miracles to you. He can send dreams to you. He sends you supernatural peace and comfort despite the severity of your hurt, especially when you feel like no one else can understand. He was with you when you were silently crying in your bed. He was with you when you first felt that sharp pain of sin and the guilt that followed. He was with you when you said you were fine but inside you were screaming at the top of your lungs. He was with you through every single step and he still is.
Sister, it is hard, and there’s no way I or anyone else can ever fully understand what you’re going through. We can empathize, sympathize, and pray for you, but you know in your heart that’s not enough to heal the pain you feel. Above all, Jesus knows that. He wants to be your source of all comfort. So stop trying to distract yourself from the pain. Shut the phone off, drive back from the mall (because you know you need to save money anyway,) and call on Jesus.
“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:5
(emphasis by me)
There are multiple definitions of comfort from the Greek dictionary (thank you biblehub.com), but to this particular section in 2 Corinthians 1, the word “comfort” in Greek is: paraklésis. “Para” means “beside” and “kaleo” means “to call”. So in this context, “paraklesis” literally means a calling to one’s aid to bring encouragement, joy, gladness, consolation, or comfort. Our God listens to our call, and He responds. He waits eagerly for us to call Him so he can give his gift of encouragement, joy, gladness, consolation, and comfort. The missing piece that seems to be overlooked is that in order to receive comfort: we have to ask. Easy right? But how many times do we (like in my example above) go to our woman tribe? Our husbands? The salon? Or food? Yes, God does give those things as gifts or forms of comfort. But, why only experience a form of comfort when we can also receive comfort himself through Christ?
God is comfort. He comforted you in the past, right now, and will continue through all the other hard desperate times you will have again. Not only is this exemplified in 2 Corinthians 1:3 – 11, but throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament for example, He is the Shepherd that provides green pastures and still waters in Psalm 23 to King David while he was being persecuted. He comforts those who experience death, as seen in the lives of Naomi (Ruth 1:3–5), Ruth (Ruth 1:5), and Mary and Martha (John 11:1–44). He comforts those who suffer with the sorrow of the inability to conceive children such as Hannah (1 Samuel 1: 7; 19-20) and Sarah (Genesis 17:16). Jesus comforts those whose passionate desires cause them to bounce from one man to the next, like the Samaritan woman (John 4:1–26). He comforts those who are sick such as the 12-year old girl and the woman who has been bleeding for 12 years (Mark 5:21–43).
Jesus knows earthly pain well. He felt physical pain, faced trials, and resisted the temptation to sin. He also felt it through his people. He felt the full weight of all of this on the cross. Jesus knows the heaviness of sin and the separation from the Father when He became sin. Do not underestimate Jesus’ compassion for you, my sister.
“Praise be to 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.”
2 Corinthians 1:3–4a
He is it! He is comfort wrapped up with love, encouragement, and strength. But when did we start believing in the lies of Satan saying that we can find all of that in other places? When was the act of ‘mind-numbing’ classified as enough for us? When was venting, versus receiving clarity and peace, enough for us? When did we settle with temporary comforts in place of ultimate comfort? When did we believe we deserve anything less than all of God’s full power and comfort? Remove that stupid lie that Satan told Eve in the beginning of time: “Did God really say...?”
Jesus Doesn’t Stop There
Jesus shows his comfort to his disciples in John 14. After the Last Supper, Jesus shares comforting words to his disciples. His words apply heavily to us today because we also need comforting and desperately need him:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place I am going.”
Jesus is the way. God Almighty does not stop there. His love continues to pour out on us every second until forever. He blesses us with another advocate to help us, The Holy Spirit, who will come to us. Take comfort in that fact alone: You will never be alone because Jesus lives inside of you.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth...I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
John 14:16–17a; 18
I share all of this with you and want to stress how vitally important it is because many people have come to me for answers. But I am only human. I want to bear your burden and help you, but I and your fellow sisters and brothers are only images of God. Like I said on the homepage of my website, I want to point you to Jesus. I want to remind you of where to go. God can use us as messengers of God’s voice via the Holy Spirit, but people are by no means perfect. God is the one you need to ultimately refer to. I urge you friends, to pray and bring it all to Him. Everything. Not just the big stuff but even the small things. Like “Lord, what shoes should I wear today?” Or “What would be the best direction to go home when it’s raining?” The Bible says to cast ALL your anxiety on him, and since figuring out what to wear makes me anxious, I bring it to him! But don’t do it because I say so, but because God’s word says so over and over: do not worry, do not fear, and give me all your burdens. All this demonstrates another amazing characteristic of God, he does not tire in reminding us.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”
1 Peter 5:7
Shortly Following the Pain
Trials are not only difficult because of the sheer pain they can cause, but often there’s a lot of uncertainty and unanswered questions we have to deal with along with everything else. “Why did this happen to me? Why does this pain hurt so badly? Why would the God of love allow so much heartache? What did I do to deserve this? Did God really say call all anxiety to him?”
“Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
2 Corinthians 1:9
(emphasis by me)
No need to beat around the bush. Boom. There it is. 2 Corinthians 1:9. How generous is our Lord that he wrote that in his word? The Bible is the love story of God and his people, us, and in his divine knowledge, He knew that centuries later we would still ask the same questions that people asked back then. This particular verse shown above was written from Paul to God’s people throughout Achaia. Paul writes the verse with the same intensity many can feel in the midst of their trials: It is a death sentence. We feel there’s nothing that we can do to stop the pain. There are times when we can feel that death is the only thing out of devastating situations. But, sister it is not.
God loves us so much. He loves you so much that He wants you to let Him be your comforter. He wants you to rely on Him. He wants you to receive the gifts and miracles He has set aside for you. He wants to receive the glory. He wants you and me to rely solely on Him instead of the “mani-pedis” or hour-long Netflix episodes you use to cope. The verse continues:
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.”
2 Corinthians 1:10
He also continues to not only heal you this one time, this one trial, this one heart break, this one section in your life, but over and over again. He will never grow tired of you. He will never be too busy to listen to you. His schedule is always open to talk to you. He eagerly waits to hear from you. He eagerly waits to bless you. He eagerly waits to hear your call and come right by your side with encouragement, joy, gladness, and comfort. He eagerly wants you to come near to him so he will come near to you (James 4:8).
Our God loves us so much that it’s worth repeating, over and over again. Because the more you learn more about God’s character, the more you can see how God is actively working in your life. You can see how he’s planned every second and minute in perfection so that you can see how glorious he is and how precious you are to him. He does not do this for everything in his creation, but for you, his child.
Anguish and Strength
The Bible tells us that God even comforted Jesus himself before his crucifixion. It’s the dead of night and all Jerusalem is in stillness. But suddenly in the stillness comes the sound of horses and men running toward the Mount of Olives. In the midst of all the commotion, the prayer begins:
“'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’ " An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling on the ground.”
(emphasis by me)
Jesus is humble even to the point of death. Anguish means a severe mental or physical suffering. He was filled with anguish knowing that he was going to suffer and die. More devastating than the death itself was the fact that Jesus would be separated from his Father as he was stained with our sins. But Jesus did not fight back, complain, or run away. Jesus prayed. He prayed earnestly to his loving Father. Man, to hear the words Jesus has prayed. When Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done, he also humbly demonstrated the restraint of his power. He could have called the angels to bring Him to heaven, changed the minds of the Pharisees, or completely taken control of the situation and done everything he could to prevent his death on the cross.
Jesus didn’t do that. Instead, He called the All Comforter and presented his requests to him.
But here is the beautiful part that can be lost between the lines of scripture: Jesus declared for God’s will to be done. He placed trust in the Father even when Jesus could see all the severe mental and physical suffering to come, he knew his Father is good. Jesus trusts his Father.
In that moment, God saw his Son and heard his cries. God comforted him by sending him an angel to strengthen him. Jesus was strengthened. The Son of Man, God in the flesh was strengthened and comforted. In his most desperate time, Jesus didn’t talk to his disciples sitting only a stone’s throw away. He didn’t take control of the situation. He didn’t run away and mope. Instead, He came on his knees before the Father. The Father loves His Son and Jesus loves the Father.
Everything the Son does was taught to Him by the Father (John 8:28). Even going through the hardest thing a human go through, separation from God, Jesus still came back to life. He has risen! But he didn’t just go straight back to heaven, he came to his disciples and many others. Jesus comforts his sheep.
The Call to Get Up
What is your end goal when seeking comfort? Do you plan to grow, choose to accept strength, and help others? Or do you choose to stay stagnant in your misfortune? This question is something you need to ask yourself. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Cry and pray it out, sister. I’m not writing this to diminish your hardship, but there is a time where you need to get up and walk (John 5:8). Are you making your pain bigger than God’s grace and comfort? Do you want to get well? God is always willing to comfort us, but a time must come when we decide whether we want to stay stagnant or move forward.
"One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?' 'Sir,'the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.'"
I also want to remind you, friend, don't place limits on what God can do or get angry when he doesn't comfort you the way you think you ought to be comforted. The last thing you should do after reading this message is to ask for God’s comfort, but only accept it when it's the kind of comfort you desire or think is best for you. Here's a few examples of what I'm talking about: “God, comfort me with a gift card to the movies." "God, please fire my coworker, because she is causing me discomfort." "Jesus, please cancel the meeting today, so I can sleep.” Just because you think the outcome should be this or that, God always has a much better plan for you, even if it's not what you wanted. And just because God granted you a comfort in the past that you thought was great doesn't mean he's obligated to grant it to you again.
The invalid in the book of John thought the best way that Jesus could comfort him at the time was to carry him into the pool so he could be healed. But Jesus did something way better: He healed him right then and there! But it wasn't just as simple as the snap of a finger; the invalid had to choose to have faith that he could get up and walk. Jesus didn't place the miracle in the invalid’s hand, but within his reach. Likewise, beyond all our doubt or years of being stagnant, we also need to have faith that Jesus can strengthen us, and we can walk. Jesus heals us to get out of our pain, but we need the faith to get up and walk.
You’re Up? Lets Walk
“Praise be to 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 receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:3–5
(emphasis by me)
After Jesus healed the invalid, he didn't just tell him to have a nice day and to go on about his business. Instead he told him to go out and spread the word about what the Lord had done for him. In the same way, Jesus wants us to go out and walk with others and share how we've been healed too. Sharing with others how we've been comforted doesn't always have to be expressed only by our words; it can be shown through our actions too. And when one person shows God's comfort and love to another through their actions, it starts a chain reaction and spreads like wildfire. We're all suffering because we're all living in a sinful world. So we're called to comfort others and point them in the direction of Jesus. That is the power of fellowship. We can share how the amazing power of Christ can overcome anything, even years of debilitating pain. When Christ’s love enters us, it’s like an overflowing fountain that spreads to everyone around us.
God comes urgently to our call, we must also help our fellow brothers and sisters in need of help. We must do so humbly and trusting in our Father. Even when we’ve been through anguish ourselves. Even when it feels like death itself. Jesus was greater than his own anguish, and He is greater than yours too. So share how God has helped you. Share the verses that brought peace to you through the tough situation. Pray with other disciples. There is power in numbers. (Also, if you’re helping someone and you yourself need comfort to comfort someone, man, God is waiting for you to ask for some comfort. It’s like a nice little comfort cycle. Isn’t that nice?)
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Sister, I’m not writing this to convince you to stop talking to your sisters in Christ or to stop counseling or whatever thing God has blessed you with to help you through this hard period in your life. I’m writing to remind you not to forget to seek and pray to Jesus through these trials. We, especially me, can be so busy looking at the creations of God rather than the Creator himself. He is the God of all comfort. He will restore you, but we must choose to be humble, trust, and accept the strength of God.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen”
1 Peter 5:10-11