"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort."
- 2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV
Years ago, my husband, Joe, and I had to go through a long period of marriage counseling to work out some of the problems in our relationship. One of the things that made this counseling necessary was the fact that every time I seemed to be struggling with a painful situation, my husband would casually respond with something like, "Don't worry about it--it'll work out fine." Not only did his words not comfort me, but they usually angered me and made me feel unloved. Even though our counselor told Joe that he needed to show more concern and compassion toward me, he never did learn how to respond in a more loving way. How have I coped with this problem after being married to the same man for more than 30 years? I've learned to turn to the Lord for compassion and comfort, instead of relying on anyone else.
Jesus said: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter...that He may remain with you forever." (John 14:16 AMP) When we received Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, He sent His Spirit to indwell us, and to minister to us every moment of every day. But while the Holy Spirit's power is always available to us, it helps if we carry our hurts and heartaches to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to help and heal us. Sometimes I'm hurting so much that I can't think of anything else but my pain--it literally consumes me. If I will take some time out to be alone with God and His Word, I always discover just how eager and able He is to calm me down and cheer me up. Scripture says: "I, even I, am He who comforts you." (Isaiah 51:12-13 NIV) God longs for us to reach out to Him in times of trouble. When we do, He rewards us with the kind of comfort that only He can give.
David wrote: "The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He understands how weak we are; He knows that we are only dust." (Psalm 103:13-14 NLT) God is intimately aware of all of our shortcomings, our weaknesses, and our failings. Yet He will never respond to our need for compassion and understanding with comments like, "You're pathetic!" or, "You're a wimp!" He delights in having us lean heavily upon Him for help and comfort. Scripture says: "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." (Psalm 103:8 NIV) Others may react in anger or impatience when we turn to them in times of need, but God never will. His patience and love are beyond our comprehension, and He cares when no one else does.
Perhaps you're one of those people who has trouble turning to the Lord for comfort. Let me encourage you by saying that if you won't do it for your own sake, do it for the sake of others. You can't give away what you don't have. Only by receiving God's comfort can you, in turn, comfort others when they need it most. The apostle Paul wrote: "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 with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV) I have benefited from others having received the comfort of Christ, and so have you. A good way for us to show our gratitude for the Lord's goodness is to make a quality decision to go to Him first when we need comforting, and to receive His supernatural comfort and healing so that we can turn around and minister these same things to others who are hurting. Then we will witness God opening doors for us that will lead to greater ministry opportunities and more meaningful relationships.
Not being able to rely on my husband so much for compassion and comfort has taught me to rely more heavily upon God. Not only has this made my relationship with the Lord sweeter and more intimate, but it has delivered me from imposing unrealistic expectations on my husband. What relationships in your life could benefit from your relying more heavily upon God?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I neglected to come to You first when I needed compassion or comfort. Give me revelation from heaven that will give me a clear understanding of how much You love me and long to be my Comforter. Thank You that from this day forward, I will be quick to receive Your comfort, and to pass that comfort on to others for Your glory!
- J. M. Farro