OURS IS THE GOD OF COMFORT

OURS IS THE GOD OF COMFORT

Comfort. Some of us take well to it, some of us find it condescending, but all of us want and need comfort all the time.

While we mostly associate comfort with the support given during times of need; day to day, we want to be living a comfortable life as well, don’t we? We want to enjoy the comforts of home and indulge in the comforts of luxury. When we buy a chair, we want the most comfortable one there is. When we buy a mattress, the one that makes us feel the most comfortable is going to be the one that gives us the best night’s rest. There is ‘comfort fit’ for clothes, and even wedding rings. There’s no denying it, comfort is important to us.

And since that is the case, there is much cause for rejoicing and celebration, for our God, our heavenly Father, is the God of comfort.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Ours is not only the God of comfort, but the God of ALL comfort. So that not only means that is He there to comfort us in the bad times, but He is also there to make sure that we are comfortable in the good times.

But to be honest, I am a little underwhelmed by this reference. Because isn’t comfort nothing more than saying the right things at the right time? Mouthing ‘everything is going to be alright’ when in truth, no one really knows if everything will be alright. In fact, for all practical purposes, things will probably get worse before it gets better. So pardon me for being a little skeptical of a God who only comforts.

This thought ever crossed your mind? Well, beloved child of God, if it ever did, you are not alone. Welcome to the club. Yes, I have had bad thoughts of God too. Hey, no one’s perfect, not even teacher-turned-ministers.

But one thing I’ve realized about many of our misunderstandings about our Father and His love, is the fact that many of these misunderstandings were caused by the limited complexity of the English language, made worse by the fact that the Bible has undergone many translations.

Now, don’t get me wrong; the Bible is still accurate. Every word is still spot on. But if we rely on just one translation of the Bible, we miss out on a lot of the richness that other languages have to offer, subtle and sophisticated nuances that were part of the scribes’ original intention when the Bible was first written. And today’s section of scripture is one such example. So let’s take a closer look at these two verses and have Jesus unveil the true richness of our Father’s comfort.

When it comes to comfort, the first thing that should strike you is that Jesus, when He was here on earth, never comforted anyone. Surprised? It’s true. Check. Not once did He comfort anyone the way we comfort people. Not once did He go up to someone and say, ‘Hey, everything will be alright’ and then walk away. Look it up.

When the wedding feast ran out of wine, did He tell the host, ‘Hey, it’s alright, we understand. Most of us are too drunk to realize it anyway. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Better luck next time.’?

“Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”” John 2:6-10

No comfort given there. Just the solution. The host didn’t even realize that he had run out of wine. Fancy that.

And when the leper came to Jesus, did Jesus say, ‘Hey, it’s alright. Here’s the card of a very famous skin specialist. He might be able to help.’?

“When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:1-3

Again, no comfort given there. Just the solution.

Even for the lame man by the pool, who did not really believe he could be healed, did Jesus say, ‘Oh you poor thing. I understand your pain. But it’s alright, if you start crawling right now, even at an inch a day, you will make it to the pool eventually.’?

“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” John 5:6-9

Again, no comfort given there. Just the solution.

What about when someone died? What did Jesus do at funerals? Did He tell the widow of Nain, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss. But take heart for your son lived a good and full life.’?

“Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”” Luke 7:11-13

He said, ‘Do not weep’. But look at what He did after that.

“Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.” Luke 7:14-15

I wonder if the widow managed to get a refund from the undertakers.

What about Lazarus? Jesus was saddened by the grief of Mary and Martha. In fact, “…when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” John 11:33

But did He tell them to take it easy and take, here’s the million dollar word, COMFORT, for Lazarus is in a better place?

“Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”” John 11:39-44

I could go on, but I’d much rather leave you some of the excitement of digging out such miraculous passages. For you see, when it comes to comforting people, when it comes to giving them peace, Jesus does things very differently from how we do things here. Indeed, He was right when He said,

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

When we comfort others, we merely utter empty words which try and make the recipient feel better. But when Jesus comforts, He gives peace by solving the problems. And that is why we should not read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 like this,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

But rather like this.

“Baruch hu Hashem Elohim Avi of Adoneinu Yehoshua, Avi HaRachamim vaElohei kol nechamah (comfort),
The one giving us chizzuk (strengthening) with respect to all our tzoros so as to enable us to give chizzuk to the ones experiencing tzoros, and that through the nechamah (comfort) by which we ourselves are comforted by Hashem.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [OJB]
Don’t worry about the translation, because here are the words that I want us to pay attention to.

‘vaElohei kol nechamah’ or God of comfort, uses the word ‘nechamah’, which, to no surprise, means comfort. But if you remove the ‘h’, it becomes ‘Nechama’, a common Jewish baby’s name for a child born around Tisha B'av, when the Jewish people seek comfort and solace. Can you remember a child that was born when we were seeking comfort and solace from the consequences of our sin?

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of PEACE; and of the increase of His government and PEACE, there will be no end; that is how God comforts. And Jesus really did bring peace to those whose lives He touched, didn’t He? But did He do that merely with words of nechamah?

“The one giving us chizzuk (strengthening) with respect to all our tzoros so as to enable us to give chizzuk to the ones experiencing tzoros, and that through the nechamah (comfort) by which we ourselves are comforted by Hashem.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 [OJB]

No, by solving our problems, He gives us comfort by giving us ‘chizzuk’ or strength. For some, it may be strength to overcome a physical ailment. For others, it may be strength to overcome emotional and psychological turmoil. Whatever it is, Jesus does not comfort with words; He brings peace and comfort into your life by solving your problems.

So beloved, what ‘tzoros’ are staring you in the face? What problems are weighing on your mind? Are they so severe that they make you feel like a ‘L’tzoros’, a leper; someone with a skin condition; an outcast of society, unwanted, unloved and bringing shame to whomever associates with you?

Then let Jesus bring you comfort. Let Jesus give you strength. Let Jesus comfort you; for our Father is

“…the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement),” 2 Corinthians 1:3 [AMPC]

And He is The One “Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction),…” 2 Corinthians 1:4 [AMPC]

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