Tuesday, September 23, 2014

God Who Comforts

- Our God is the Father of compassion (mercies) and the God of all comfort! God comforts us His children in all our trials and affliction. All. Every time. Unfailing comfort! When a child is hurt or afraid or sad, a mother naturally comforts, consoles, soothes, and helps her child. "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." ~God (Isaiah 66:13a) Our compassionate Father is always ready to hold us in His everlasting arms and comfort us. His purpose is that we may be able to comfort others who are in any affliction with the comfort we ourselves have received from Him. Freely you have received; freely you must give.
- We are never promised a trouble-free life. In fact, Jesus states the opposite in John 16:33. However, we are promised that God is always with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. We are never alone no matter what trials we are going through. As sure as God puts His children in the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them.” (~Charles Spurgeon) God's presence gives us comfort. God may not remove our pain and sufferings but He will carry us through them. The Holy Spirit/the Comforter dwells in us, giving us the grace and strength to endure. In addition, "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8:26) That's very comforting to me! God is our Refuge, Strong Tower, Shield, Strength, Fortress, very present Help in times of trouble, etc. Knowing Who God is and knowing that He loves me and is always with me & for me gives me continual comfort. 
- God's Word and promises give us comfort. "Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones." (Isaiah 49:13) "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life...I remember, Lord, Your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them...May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant." (Psalm 119:50, 52, 76) God's Word is sweet and refreshing to the soul, encouraging us and giving us hope.
- God wants us to comfort others. As children of God, we never suffer in vain. Because of our past experiences/trials, we are uniquely in the position to show empathy to those who go through similar trials and to minister to them with compassion and with insight. "Don't count yourself out of ministry because of the mistakes or your past. The same merciful embrace God gave you in your day of distress could become the hug you share with others in their day." (~David McGee) Our trials allow us to reach out to other hurting people because we have been "there". We are able to identify with their pain and struggles. "I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary." (~Charles Spurgeon) Affliction make us able to see/understand the hurts of others and the amazing love & grace of God. When we are open and transparent with others regarding our trials/struggles and the comfort we have received, God can use us to touch their lives and comfort them.
- We are told to comfort one another in the way that we have been comforted. God comforts us in many different ways and we can comfort others in many different ways. I believe the two most important ones are being present/being there for them, praying for them and with them (as God is present with us and the Holy Spirit is interceding for us) and sharing with them God's Word/promises. Sometimes we don't know what to say or what to do for them but just being there (available) for them means a lot to them. Be a good listener; it shows that you care. God's Word is powerful; share the Bible verses that have helped you when you doubt, struggle, are sorrowful, are discouraged, are afraid, etc. 

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