“He comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 1:4
Sometimes my expectation for God’s comfort is that he would take away all my troubles. Sadness. Painful situations. But that is definitely not the case. Comfort from God is not necessarily relief from our suffering. It’s encouragement, it’s strength and it’s hope.
Paul writes that because we have received God’s comfort, we should be able to extend it to others. Which means we need to be able to recognize what it looks like when God comforts us.
What does the Bible say about comfort? Here’s what I’ve noticed:
-Mourning is encouraged, when applicable. God encourages us to set aside time to mourn, to acknowledge what is happening and give yourself space to process it. (Note: I think grief is different. Grief is an uncontrollable snake that slithers up on you and attacks when you least expect it, let’s not pretend we have any control over that beast.)
-God wants in on it. You are not alone! If you read along in the psalms with us, you know that God is physically near to the brokenhearted. He wants it that way. Don’t suffer alone.
-God cares about the little things. Don’t trivialize your problems; if it’s bothering you, it’s bothering you, so pray about it. One of my favorite stories about God’s character is in 2 Kings 6, when someone loses an ax he borrowed from a friend in the river. With God empowering him, Elisha makes the ax head float up from the bottom of the river. God can demonstrate his power in any little situation. Don’t believe the lie that God doesn’t care about what you’re worried about!
Think about a time you went through something really hard. How was God there for you? How can you extend this to someone going through a similar scenario?