The God of all Comfort
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…” (2 Cor. 1:3 NAS)
On Thursday nights, I go hang out at my dad’s church. They have a Thursday night young adult service with worship led by a rotating group of mostly Biola students. Every once in a while, I’ll lead, but usually I get to be a part of the congregation and worship. Tonight’s worship was awesome, not because of the music or the skill of the band, but because the Holy Spirit impressed something on my heart that I thought I’d share with all of you.
I’m a strong person, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Don’t be fooled – I keep my muscles (or as I refer to them “guns”) under a protective layer of flab for your safety and mine. I’m the Chuck Norris of non-violent, non-athletic, non-aggressive, creative-pastor-types. I, like a Timex, can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. That’s a good thing, usually. I’m not a fragile person. I don’t need to be babied or coddled. I’m okay.
But this last week has been…difficult, and for a myriad of reasons, none of which are really important here. Anyway, tonight we sang a song I was unfamiliar with. I don’t even remember the name. All I remember is that it talked about God’s comfort. And it occurred to me that His comfort is something I rarely allow myself to experience. I guess I think I’m too spiritually “grown” to need the comfort of my Daddy. But He wants to comfort me and reassure me of His love and presence. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…” That word “comfort” in the Greek is translated as paraklesis. Some of the translations for paraklesis are “exhortation, admonition, encouragement, consolation, comfort, solace, and that which affords comfort or refreshing.” It has the same root as the word for the Holy Spirit, known in the Greek as the parakleto (One who comes alongside).
As Christians, we are promised that the Holy Spirit will come alongside us. He will not only “convict as to sin and righteousness” (John 16:8), but He will also “intercede for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). He is there to be our Comforter and the Refresher of our souls. How much blessing have I missed because I’ve been too self-reliant? I know that I miss out on God’s comfort all the time because I think I shouldn’t need it. Somewhere I got the idea that I had to be the strong one. But you know what? “He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NAS)
We sang a song tonight called “God is Able”.
God is with us
God is on our side
He will make a way
Far above all we know
Far above all we hope
He has done great things
“Far above all we hope.” One line in a song, and I was done. God’s comforting presence wrapped around me, and I experienced the reassurance that came from knowing He had seen. Even though I’ve been a brat this week – cranky and irritable and probably unlovable, He loves me anyway. He loves me enough to remind me that He is with me, my “ever-present help in time of trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)
Don’t make my mistake. Don’t mistake strength for maturity. I think, perhaps, that maturity means acknowledging our weaknesses rather than pretending they don’t exist. Embrace His comfort as a necessary and wonderful benefit of this relationship we have with Him.