Comfort is like the down feather mattress my giggily girl cousin and I piled into when we visited an elderly club-footed aunt in her broken down little home in Mountain Park, Oklahoma. We were children, and as that mattress caved to the middle we found ourselves surrounded by soft billows of warmth. What could be more wonderful?
In Second Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes the comfort of God in terms of a merciful tender-hearted father who not only provides support and encouragement during our troubles but divinely crafts those difficulties so that we might provide that same comfort to someone else along the way. Paul goes on to describe that he too had suffered through troubles and so he approaches us not only with biblical truth but with a raw dose of human experience so that we understand his counsel comes from “being there.”
Paul is like a lead man on a rock climbing expedition. He goes up first and experiences the head winds that beat against the cliff, the random pattern of the crags in the rock to set anchoring points and the dizzing heights of the journey. He looks back and calls to us about what is ahead for us, but lets us know that it is going to be okay because the euphoria of the experience is worth the climb. There is purpose in our pain. Someone, if not many, will receive great comfort for what we suffered.
From Streams in the Desert, “If we have faith that believes to see, it will keep us from growing discouraged. We shall “laugh at impossibilities,” we shall watch with delight, to see how God is goign to open up a path through the Red Sea when there is no human way out of out of our difficulty. It is just in such places of severe testing that our faith grows and strenghtens.
Having confidence and being able to smile at the future when we are having troubles is a result of faith and trust in God when circumstances would tell us to be fearful and disillusioned. Having faith in God’s goodness opens the door for wonderful things we would never in our wildest dreams consider. We can laugh and have joy before our own personal Red Sea opens before us – before we see any visible sign of the rescue that will come. God’s comfort is not only a healing salve when life has roughed us up. His comfort inspires faith for the good possibilities ahead!