Thursday, January 19, 2012

Comfort in His Presence

In this old fallen world, life deals us blows. Perhaps the blow is a broken marriage. Perhaps it is bad news at the doctor’s office (Psalm 41:1-3). Perhaps it is the loss of a dearly loved one. Perhaps it is a layoff. Perhaps it is an errant child or grandchild. Perhaps it is a lie. Perhaps it is the sheer crushing strength of stress. Perhaps it is the ache of a violation years ago. Perhaps it is betrayal or rejection. Perhaps it is the devouring beast called depression. Perhaps it is being blindsided by your best friend. Perhaps it is the deep water of financial insecurity or unspeakable loss. Perhaps hope deferred has made your heart sick. Or discouragement, disillusionment, despair, depression, deceit, delusion, dead works, distrust, disgrace, disappointment, even death.

The refiner’s fire burns away the dross and brings forth the pure gold (Jer 9:7; Zech 13:9;  Mal 3:2-3; 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Tim 2:21). A hard principle is that the refining fires most often come through those closest to us. Only the submissive act of standing on the Word of God produces the transforming power that brings forth the priceless. 

When we come out on the other side of the trials and tests, we can agree with the Psalmist, “Remember the word to Your servant, / Upon which You have caused me to hope. / This is my comfort in my affliction, / For Your word has given me life. / The proud have me in great derision, / Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. / I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord, / And have comforted myself. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, / That I may learn Your statutes. I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, / And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. / Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, / According to Your word to your servant. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;” (Psalm 119:49-52, 71, 75-77).

The God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3-5; Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 40:1) provides for those who grieve in Zion, and He specializes in beauty from the ashes, gladness for mourning, and praise for despair with a vision for building oaks of righteousness for the display of His splendor (Isaiah 61:3). 

By staying centered on the truth of God’s Word, we can work through the grief and anger, the numbness and regrets, the blame and doubts. We must fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2-3), who runs to the cry of those in need of mercy (Heb 2:18; 2 Cor 9:8). 

Cry out to Him. You can trust Him (Psalm 25:16-17; 34:6, 15). Let Him carry you (Psalm 55:22; 121:1-8; 1 Peter 5:7). Let Him counsel you in the night (Psalm 16:7; 32:8). Let Him comfort you through His promises (2 Thess 2:16-17; Heb 13:5-6). You’ll need to return to them many times. Let Him fill you with joy (Psalm 16:11; 30:5; 90:15; John 16:20; Phil 4:4). Take courage in Him (Josh 1:9; Psalm 27:14; 31:24; 138:3). Find your rest in Him (Deut 33:12; 37:27; Psalm 9:9; 16:1; 62:1, 5; Matt 11:28-30). True healing is only found in Jesus’ presence (Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 49:8-9; Joel 2:25-26; Phil 3:10, 14). 

Having experienced His comfort, you can minister healing and comfort to others (2 Cor 1:4). Don’t waste your sorrows. Let God give you opportunities to pray Christ’s comfort for others. He will bring you divine appointments and use you to minister the comfort of Jesus to them.