If you haven’t said this, you may have heard someone else ask, “Why did God let this happen?” In addition to this question, an aching heart might cry out, “Why didn’t God do something about this?” Both questions are legitimate. After all, if God did something, then he wouldn’t need to comfort us. Practically, God could make a perfect world and there would be no necessity for him to be my comfort, right?
The sad fact is that God DID make a perfect world, and yet, sin entered into every part of life. “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Before we lay all responsibility on Adam and Eve, let’s remind ourselves that scripture tells us that all of us hold personal responsibility. (Romans 3:23)
Though it is true that we need comfort because we live in a corrupted world, problems did not need to be present for God to be our comfort. He has eternally been a Comforter. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrew 13:8)
God does much more than soothe us when things go wrong. He strengthens us in and through the challenges of life. The Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 1:3 is “paraklesis”. When it is used in reference to God, it means that God strengthens and helps us to be brave. Adam and Eve could have used that type of help when tempted. Unfortunately, they didn’t seek God out at that moment.
And look at the loving way God reached out to Adam and Eve when they were hiding from him. Imagine how he could have comforted them, if only they had fallen upon his mercy! God can wipe away our tears out of his bountiful love but he goes further. He does so by helping us face problems (including our own failures) in his strength.
Picture God as the one who sympathizes with how we feel but also cares enough not to leave us in pain. The Psalmist David knew much about the comfort of God. He wrote; “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You (God, the Good Shepherd) are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) Up until this verse, Psalm 23 looks pretty good for the sheep under the care of the Good Shepherd. Now life sets in with dark and foreboding problems. The first three verses focus on the shepherd but now the personal pronoun, “I” shows up.
Isn’t that just like life for you and me? We can worship God because of his loving care and for who he is but when troubles come, we are tempted to look away from him and more at ourselves. But he doesn’t shun us when we do. He is near even in the dangers and heartaches and he comforts so that we can keep walking through life with him.
The rod and staff used by the Good Shepherd are more than weapons against enemies. They are also tools to guide us when we get off the track. A shepherd will toss the rod just beyond a wandering sheep to startle it in order to turn it back. Or he will catch a sheep in the crook of a staff to lift it or turn it from danger. Wandering can happen quickly when our focus becomes wrapped around life situations. Sometimes God has to comfort us by getting our attention and turning our attention back on him.
Problems cannot solve themselves but God, my encouragement, my burden bearer, my hope, my help and my guide is the one who comforts me – and you.
On a cold winter night, it’s always great to snuggle up with a nice blanket. God is more than just a blanket. He’s the one who gives me courage as I focus on him. He is my Comfort. We appreciate your Comments