The message of comfort is one that began to be declared in the Garden of Eden, for a promise was given that would stretch down through the centuries and millennia until this very day. In speaking to the serpent, God said: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: it (her seed…speaking of the Lord Jesus) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his feet.” (Gen. 3:15) The context in which man would now live, after his disobedience, was one where the effects of sin and Satan’s work, would be manifested. Hence, there would be much suffering. But there in the midst, though man had been cast out of the Garden of Eden, and though there was a guardian placed to prevent anyone from eating of the Tree of Life, God prepared a way by which man could know true life, the Life of God in Christ, by the Spirit. The “enmity” that God created between man’s seed and Satan’s seed, was the beginning and realization of the eternal Hope. God would save man by that Seed declared through the ages, and seen hanging on a cross, the very centerpiece of all time. Where then is Comfort, and why does God speak of Himself as being the “God of all comfort?” (2 Cor. 1:3)
First of all, what does God mean by “comfort?” When Christ came into this world, there was immense suffering. Not only was there the authoritarian, “Godless” regime of the Romans, but there was untold physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. Christ stepped into a suffering world. He would confront every form of suffering, overcome it by His example, and at the same time, address potentially the greatest object of suffering, that in the soul of man. This soul is what man truly is: intellect, emotion, and will. Though man would suffer physically and emotionally, nothing would compare with the suffering brought about by a sense and conviction of “lostness.” Without the sense and conviction of purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction of heart, man is like the demons who did not want the Lord Jesus to send them into outer darkness, or the abyss. They even requested to be sent into swine. Why? Because in the “darkness,” there is no knowledge of belonging to something with meaning, no purpose, or reason for existing. There is NO attachment to truth and reality…just darkness, purposelessness, the utter experience of “lostness,” of hopelessness. COMFORT, that which is of God, begins with coming to Christ…for REST. (Matt. 11:28) This REST is that assurance, and conviction, along with the peace of God, that one IS known by God, and IS in the place where God would have them be. It is in the knowledge of belonging to Christ, and Christ to the believer, that PURPOSE rises in the heart, that the CERTAINTY of eternity is confirmed by the peace of God in the heart. The Comfort of God is that powerful reassurance of God that He is with us, in us, around us, …and we are in His hand, complete in Christ, “…with every need supplied.”
Secondly, when Scripture speaks of God being our Comforter, we are lifted up into the realm of all things being possible to God. Though we live on this earth, with feet of clay, Christ by His Spirit lives in the heart to convince us, to reassure us, of the reality of the promises of God. Some of these comforting promises are: 1. “I am with you…” (Is. 41:10), 2. “I am your God…,” 3. “I will strengthen you…,” 4. “I will help you…,” 5. I will uphold you…” All these promises are valid, regardless of the circumstances of this world. God’s will, His way, His power…revealed to us by His Spirit, meets us where we live, so that, in seeking the God of all consolation, He may, and will, intervene according to His promises.
Dear Father, Great Comforter, who has declared Your intention to comfort us in all our need, meet us this day according to Your promises. Strengthen our hearts to lay hold of You, believe you, for the blessed peace and joy that You give, even in the most difficult and trying circumstances. Fill us Lord with Your comfort, that we shall in turn, by the Spirit, be enabled to comfort those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.