Thursday, July 14

Finding a Comfy Place

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble the comfort we ourselves have received from God. --2nd Corinthians 2:3-4

It has been said that necessity breeds creativity. The rise of so many support and awareness groups are a testament to that saying. Most are started as a way for a person who has experienced a loss or difficulty, to channel their hurt into something productive. The 65 Roses* campaign, for example, was started by a woman who wanted to rally other parents and family members of children with cystic fibrosis to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds to enable researchers to one day find a cure. I don't know if she had ever read this verse, but she has put it into practice!

2nd Corinthians 2:3-4 describes how Christians can offer their comfort and support to other Christians. Perhaps that is why I write as often as I do. God has shown me a lot about himself in the last 25 years. Who I am today is largely because of Christian support from family and close friends, but by and large it is because of my relationship with Christ. Because he has taught me so much, I feel compelled to share with others the lessons I have learned, in good times and bad, with my brothers and sisters in the Christian community.

Many people over the years have written to me to say that my words are exactly what they needed at exactly the right time. I am blessed to be a blessing to others, but really, God gets all the credit. Rarely do I sit down with a particular person or topic in mind--instead I wait for God to call to my mind something I've learned that someone else might appreciate. Because I battle health problems on a daily basis, a lot of what I write is about trusting God in times of trials, and finding comfort in him.

The entire first chapter of 2nd Corinthians is about God as the God of comfort. Not just comfort--ALL comfort. He knows our hearts, our pains and our longings, and can fill us with his presence in a way that is completely perfect for any individual situation. There are thousands of reasons, perhaps even millions, that can leave us in need of comfort, and God is there to address every one of those needs. Those who benefit from God's comfort are encouraged to get up and do something with it, rather than just sit around feeling relieved to be feeling better. What God has done for us, we must do for others. Just as he comforts us, so also must we become comforters to those in need.

Many people try to argue that the presence of suffering in the world must mean that there is no such thing as a caring, loving God. In his book The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis addresses this issue. I admit that those there have been times when I've been tempted to argue that God is just a "big mean kid sitting on an ant hill with a magnifying glass trying to burn off my feelers", I realize that the truth is I can't blame him for suffering, especially since he is faithful to strengthen me and see me through it when it happens.

God comforts us because he loves us. We need to love others in the same way. Romans 12:9-15 describes how we are to do this. We do it by rejoicing with those who rejoice, and mourning with those who mourn. One of the greatest lessons we can learn in the midst of our own trials, is that maybe somewhere down the line we can use our experience to relate to someone else and comfort them in their situation. The only way we get through the rough times is by relying on God. Those of us who are already finding peace need to demonstrate to others how to find it in God instead of being angry at him or turning their backs on him.

Try as I might, there is little I can do to comfort myself when faced with extremely difficult situations. Fortunately, all I need to do is let the God of all comfort step in and take over. Finding that comfy place is the best feeling in the world.






*If you would like to learn more about the story of 65 Roses or Cystic Fibrosis and how you can help, please visit the following website http://cff.org

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