On Wednesday, I shared that I am giving up soda for Lent and that the reason I am giving up soda is because it is my go-to when I am stressed and in need of comfort. In its way soda has become an idol to me because I seek it for comfort when I should be seeking God.
And the reason for Lent is to tear down the idols between us and God. It is not about sacrifice but about cleaning out the muck that resides in our hearts and keeps us from making space for Him.
If I turn to something besides Christ for comfort, then I am saying to Him that He can’t supply that need, but the Bible tells us that He can supply all of our needs and that includes our comfort when we are in the midst of trials and afflictions no matter how big or how small.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 1:3-7(ESV):
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”
From these verses we can see that:
1) God is the God of all comfort.
Comfort comes from God. It is a part of who He is. When we look at Jesus’ life, we can see this aspect of God over and over again as He heals wounds that are both seen and unseen. He comforted the woman who touched His robe. He comforted the apostles during the storm. Comfort is a part of Him. It can’t be separated from Him.
2) God will comfort us in our afflictions.
Since comfort can’t be separated from God, then it only stands to reason that when we are truly comforted it has come from God. And He will provide us with comfort, but many times instead of relying on Him for comfort we turn to things that we think will comfort us only to find the comfort temporary or missing altogether.
3) Afflictions are for our comfort.
That sounds so contrary to what the world teaches us, doesn’t it? Afflictions are for our comfort? How can afflictions be for our comfort? It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to us, but when we stop and look back at those times of afflictions we often see that they can be times of great growth or that they can lead to times of growth when we allow Christ to comfort us and heal us.
4) We are to comfort others in the ways that we have been comforted.
And in those times of affliction when we allow Christ to comfort us, then we can be used to comfort others. Haven’t you ever noticed the comfort found when you meet someone who can understand your story because they have gone through something similar? We are called to do that…to share our stories with others so that they can be comforted. And we can’t comfort them unless we have been through afflictions.
When we go through afflictions, we have 2 choices. One, we can allow the afflictions to make us bitter and angry and stressed, or two, we can allow God to comfort us. When we allow God to comfort us, then He uses the affliction for our growth and to bring comfort to others.
Linking up here: