Saturday, November 19, 2016

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 -- On the God of All Comfort

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We don't often think of God as comforting.  He often seems a lot more distant than that.  It's probably easier to imagine him striking us with a lightning bolt than putting his arms around us.  And yet, in reading this today, I could definitely feel the truth of it, and I actually think that God is so much more comforting than people usually know how to be.

As fallible humans, we often find it hard to truly relate to other people.  We try, but we sometimes
just can't wrap our minds around another perspective.  We don't understand why things are hard for other people when they are easy for us, or why some societal issue causes others concern when we believe it's all good the way it is.  We have a hard time empathizing with people who are different than we are and who face different challenges and choices, especially when those things are not challenges or weaknesses for us.  It often takes an immense effort to see from someone else's perspective, and often we don't put in the time, or else we just aren't interested in trying.

God, on the other hand, *can* wrap his mind around everything that we go through.  Not only did Christ suffer everything that we suffer, but the whole idea of God is wrapped up in the fact that he *does* get it... he gets everything, being all-knowing.  He knows exactly how to comfort each of us.  And since he is also love, I would say he is also all-compassionate.  Note however that all-compassionate does not equal all-permissive.  Caring about what we are going through does not mean that he is okay with us sinning--only that he can help us through it.  It's kind of like when we fall off a bike.  God cares that we're injured, and he will help us patch ourselves up, but it doesn't mean he wants us to give up on trying to learn how to ride, or that his love means that he approves of us learning how to fall and scrape ourselves better and better every day.  The idea is to keep trying and stop falling, and master the skill. :)

I think God's comfort is actually better in that way as well.  God is never going to tell us that things are going to be okay when we know they really won't be.  He is never going to encourage us to give up and accept less in terms of the gospel.  He shows us real hope, and gives us a glimpse of what life could be once we get beyond our current challenges.  Today, let's open our hearts to God's compassion and allow him to comfort us.  Let's believe in his hope, and his promises for the future.  Let's get back on the bike, and master the skill.  Let's move forward, learning and growing, as he puts his arms around us and helps us to fulfil our potential and our dreams.  And once we understand his comfort, let's be instruments in his hands to share it with others.

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