The God of Comfort
God has provided us with so many rich blessings in life. James 1:17 says that “every good and perfect gift comes from above”. The blessings are far reaching. It may be that he is blessing us with a nice family, a good job, and nice things. But God’s greatest blessings are those that help heal the soul that is within us. One of God’s greatest blessings is comfort.
Romans 15:5 says, “Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus”. God is a God of comfort. His comfort is like a fresh spring that will never dry up because it is in his very nature.
In Isaiah 66:3, God’s comfort is illustrated by the comfort a mother gives to a child. From the moment a child is conceived, mother comforts them. A dad may be excited to be expecting that child to be born, he may be thrilled when he can feel the baby kick, but the mothers bond begins in the womb. It carries on through life. How many country songs testify to the comfort that even a grown man can receive from his mama? A mother is an image the Bible uses to help us understand the way that God comforts us. Let’s consider a few ways that God provides comfort to us.
First, God provides comfort through the friends we have. It must be stated at the beginning, that not all friends are a blessing(1 Cor 15:33). Friends that help you and encourage you to engage in sinful living are not what we would call good friends.
Having said that, good friends are a blessing of God that do provide us tremendous comfort in times of distress. Proverbs 17:17 says that a friend loves at all times. Sometimes people do awful things that they are ashamed of and the world turns away, but a good friend will comfort you and stand by you. Friends are there to share in the good times, but Roman 12:15 tells us, they should also weep with us as well. That passage is giving instructions of how we can be extensions of God’s comfort as a friend.
The comfort that God provides through friendship is so powerful that we can be comforted by the very memories that we have. When a loved one passes, one of the comforts at the funeral are the memories from that relationship. Thank God for good friends!
Secondly, God provides comfort through scriptures. In a book entitled, God’s Prophetic Word, by Foy E Wallace Jr, the author spends time talking about how we can know that the Bible is actually the word of God. One of the points he makes is simply observing how needed the Bible always is. We still need it for moral guidance today. But we also need it to calm our souls. We need it for comfort.
The Bible is just as comforting as it was when it was written. Take the Psalm 23 as an example. It was written around 3000 years ago. It has probably been read in millions of funerals, preached on countless times, but if we are in the pit of despair we can still find comfort in those beautiful words.
Psalm 119:50 says the word of God, “is my comfort in my affliction” and that it brings one back out of the pit of despair. Not only are there words of comfort in the Bible, but there are also stories of comfort. Jesus was the “word of God” that took on flesh (John 1:1,14). When we read about things that he did in the flesh, we will find comfort. And we can see exactly what Matthew saw in 9:36, “When he saw the crowd, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”.
Interestingly, the Holy Spirit, who inspired the men to write this book is called “The Comforter” in John 14:6. Thank God for the comfort found in his Word!
Finally, there is another source of comfort that is more reserved. Every person can find comfort in friends, and all can find comforting words in the Bible. But God has another avenue of comfort that is reserved specifically for those in his Church. That is the comfort of salvation. At a funeral for a Christian, we can be comforted by special promises of God that are reserved for them. The assurance that our loved one is saved is the greatest comfort of all. Speaking of the death of a believer, Paul says, “comfort one another with these words”(1 Thess 4:18).
In that same realm, there is no comfort to the problems of life like the assurance of salvation. No matter what a Christian may face on earth, it can not be compared to the glory yet to come (Romans 8:18).
Sadly, many people based that comfort on a feeling rather than the word of God. People are comforted in a promise that they haven’t received. The promise of salvation is “in Christ” (Eph 1:3-15) and one is outside of Christ until they are “baptized into Christ” (Gal 3:27). Many people are comforted on the outside looking in. The comfort of salvation is for those who have believed the gospel AND are baptized (Mark 16:15-16). Do you truly have that comfort?
God surely is the God of comfort to all, and especially the Christian.