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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro


The God of Comfort


What a wonderful God we have--he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TLB

One day a few years ago, I got a call from one of my sisters, saying that while my parents were flying home from vacation, my father died on the plane. My first reaction was disbelief. He had just called me a couple of days ago, telling me how he was looking forward to seeing me when he arrived home later that week. He was away for Father's Day and I had promised him a visit so we could celebrate. I already had his card and gift. The realization that I would never see my dad again threatened to overwhelm me, but I pushed it aside to think about my mother and what she must be going through now. She was all alone in a city far away from home, where she was surrounded by strangers in her time of need. One of the things that troubled me most at the time was how I would get through all the funeral services for my father. I was concerned about my mother and three sisters, and I wanted so much to be strong for them. I asked God for a miracle. I prayed that He would sustain me with His strength, comfort, and peace so that I could help and support my loved ones until my dad was laid to rest. God answered that prayer far above my expectations, and the example I set for my family was a powerful witness of His boundless love and mercy.

The verses above, written by the apostle Paul, have a very special meaning for me now. I have experienced firsthand how eager our God is to comfort us during difficult times, especially when we ask in faith. One reason He does this is so that we, in turn, can reach out to others in their times of trouble, offering them the same comfort we have received from the Lord. One of the things that impressed me most when I began studying the Bible was how many comfort-related verses there were. Jesus Himself said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) Sometimes believers have the idea that when someone we love dies, especially if they were Christians, we shouldn't mourn or grieve for them. But that's not scriptural. God made grieving part of the healing process, and He gave us tears for a reason. Ever notice how good you feel after a good cry sometimes? The fact is that there are times when nothing will bring relief like a good cry can. On the other hand, God doesn't want us to sink into a pit of depression or despair. Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV says, "Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Excessive sorrow can drain us of our strength and joy, and can eventually harm our mental and physical health. Each time I began feeling overwhelmed with sadness after my dad died, I claimed God's promise in Isaiah 53:4 NKJV: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." Since Jesus took upon Himself all the misery we'll ever experience in this life, we can embrace the suffering that is part of God's healing process, and we can reject the suffering that would destroy our well-being. God's desire to comfort us is so great that He has given us His Holy Spirit, whom Jesus called the "Comforter," to abide in us continually. (John 14:16 KJV) While there will be times when the Lord uses others to comfort us, we should never forget that our greatest source of comfort is only a prayer away. Another way that God offers us comfort is through His Word. Psalm 119:50 NLT says, "Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles." If you are in need of comfort today, may this promise from the Lord encourage your heart: "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." (Isaiah 66:13)

Prayer: Lord, when I am in need of comfort, help me to turn to You first. Teach me how to comfort others with the comfort You offer me. Remind me that You gave me tears for a reason, but don't let me drown in self-pity or despair. Thank You that through Christ, my comfort overflows! (2 Corinthians 1:4)

- J. M. Farro

 

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