3 May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. 4 He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.
I’ll confess that sometimes God’s comfort doesn’t quite feel all that comforting. There are moments when what we are going through seems so painful that we can’t imagine how we’re ever going to get past it. We become convinced that our circumstances are going to undo us. We are certain that the grief is going to overwhelm us. We feel so heavy that we can’t imagine what it will look like to be happy again. And even though we cry out to God over and over, there seems to be no answer. Friends and family don’t take the pain away. Circumstances don’t magically go back to what they were. Lost loved ones are not restored to us.
This is the depth of our human suffering: at times, it’s so profound that nothing seems to touch it – not even God.
But day by day, we pray and worship and read scripture. Day by day, we embrace those whom God has sent to embrace us. We share our pain with those whom God has sent to listen to us. We find solace in music that touches our souls. And, wonder of wonders, we gradually see small blessings begin to show up. The horizon starts to look a little bit lighter. We realize that we will survive.
Perhaps this is God’s greatest comfort of all…the realization that we can and will survive. It’s the Easter morning realization that the worst thing is not going to be the last thing. What’s amazing about this is that God only has to do it once. Once, and then next time, we remember. And so when something threatens to undo us, we can say to ourselves: “God got me through that. God will get me through this.” God’s comfort is the gift that keeps on giving: our experience allows us to testify to ourselves and others about all God has done for us, and how God came through when everything seemed lost. The promise isn’t that we’ll always be comfortable. The promise is that we’ll always be comforted. And that’s why Paul says we worship the God of all comfort.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
How have you known God as a God of comfort? How have you been able to share that comfort with others?
Prayer: God of all comfort, I thank you for those moments in my life when you have seen me through. I thank you for the victories in the face of adversity and joy in the midst of pain. Walk with me in my trials and give me grace to walk with others. Amen.