Comfort is being tucked up on a sofa, cushion behind your head, blanket over your legs, a mug of tea or coffee in your hands—and to make it perfect, a gorgeous view or sunset.
Comfort is being upgraded from the back of the plane to the front of the plane.
The idea of being in a place of physical ease and having a nice lifestyle is a more modern meaning of the word “comfort.” The origin of “comfort” in French and Latin has more to do with strength and support than freedom from hardship. This is the biblical meaning of the word too. In particular, it means to strengthen and console in times of grief and distress.
God, the Bible tells us, is the God of all comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3 says
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort
“All” reminds us that God encourages us in ways other things and other people cannot. God can soothe us in any and every circumstance. God is the source of resilience and having that ability to bounce back in hard times, when we are most stressed and most uncomfortable.
In the ancient world of the Old Testament, and the time of deep distress when God’s people were taken into exile, God came to comfort his people through the prophets. God said in Isaiah 66:13
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”
.In the New Testament, God’s comfort is shown through Jesus, and the deep compassion he had for people, especially those who were suffering. Then the last two thousand years and today, we have God’s Holy Spirit. The word “Comforter” for the Holy Spirit comes from the same Greek root for the word “comfort.”
God’s comfort is complete. We are never left without the strength and protection of his arms wrapped around us.
God’s all-encompassing comfort is more than just a nice fuzzy feeling of empathy, it includes active help. Here are two ways in which God eases our grief and distress.
Comfort in God’s words
Words of comfort can come through other people but the best words of comfort are God’s words. It’s a good reason for us to keep reading the Bible as much as we can, especially when we are going through a hard time.
If you haven’t had God speak to you through his words, then I encourage you to keep reading and keep listening. If you have had a Bible verse that in the past has come at the right time, then I encourage you to also continue reading and listening.
When my children were small and I didn’t have much time to read the Bible on a daily basis, my regular reading came in the form of a tear-off calendar with one Bible verse a day.
My Dad died around this time. He passed away in the night., The next morning when I woke up, I leaned over to tear off the Bible verse from the day before, and read these words:
“I will be a father to you.”2 Corinthians 6:18
I could hardly believe the words I read, that God cared enough about me to show me his tenderness when I had lost my second parent in one year. God’s love and understanding filled the hole in my life through those few words. More than that, I knew he would be the perfect father which any human father could not be.
Pray for God to give you personal comfort through his words. Or, if God has spoken to you in a similar way, let others know by adding in the comments how God has comforted you to encourage them to keep reading the Bible.
Comfort in God’s actions
The best example of God’s comfort in action is Jesus. He did not hesitate to heal people, feed people, and even bring back to life those who had died. Jesus’ actions comforted those whose lives had been shattered, who were hungry, afraid, confused, grieving, and lonely. Don’t we wish Jesus would hurry up and return?
We may wish Jesus was with us but for now, God’s comfort often comes to us through the actions of other people.
When our twin boys were diagnosed with bacterial meningitis at seven weeks old, God provided comfort for us, and them, through a wonderful nurse. Our babies were unconsolable from the pain of the pressure and swelling in their heads, even though painkillers and antibiotics were constantly administered through IVs. Even as their mother I struggled to stop their crying. This nurse stood over their bed and placed one hand on each tiny body. Eventually, they were soothed and went to sleep. She was like an angel sent from God. In those long days, as we waited to see if our babies would survive this illness, God brought comfort through this woman.
Eventually after two weeks of constant care and attention, God gave the most amazing comfort in that the meningitis was rediagnosed as viral. Both boys have survived with no side effects or ailments.
God’s comfort may come in the form of a friend who drops off a meal when you are struggling, a phone call or message that says “thinking of you,” the tender care or committed attention of a doctor or nurse.
Let’s give praise when we receive comfort through other people knowing that God is the God of all comfort.