Bill drinks, Paula reads novels, Jack gambles, and for Susie it's her movies. John views pornography, Barbara puts on extravagant socials, for Bob it's his armchair sports, and with Judy it's the shopping malls. What do all these church-attending Christians have in common? They all have a false sense of comfort.
I've never understood it before, but I do now. Many of us do the things we do for a temporary "sense" of comfort. I used to think that we did these "things" because we were "hooked" on them. I believe that some truly are, but many are simply addicted to the temporary "sense" of comfort that these things bring.
So where do you find your comfort? Is it in overeating, improper relationships, drugs, popularity, good works, or is it in "The God of All Comfort?" My father found his comfort in tobacco, and it took him to an early grave. What is your substitute for the true comfort that God offers you?
Why is it that we seek comfort in the first place? Is it for relief from the stresses, pressures, deadlines, anxiety, hurt, and sorrows of life? Disappointments abound in life, and God often allows these avenues of discomfort and suffering to awaken us to our need of Him. He knows that the realization of our deep need often opens our lives up to the "God of all Comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation." 2 Corinthians 1:4.
My dear father once told me that there are no atheists in foxholes. When the enemy of our souls has us down in the ditch, the bombs of life going off all around us, and the bullets are flying over our heads, then it is that we are finally willing to "count all things but loss" that we might "Win Christ."
All I can say is "Praise God for our foxholes!" I just climbed out of one. While down in the hole, God revealed to me my false comfort. While in this hole, my Lord hadn't forsaken me! My Savior hadn't forgotten me! Not in my failure, nor in my heartache.
Jesus whispered to me, "Jim I have graven you upon the palms of my hand. Jim, it is impossible for Me to forget you!" I responded, but Lord I am not worthy of Your Comfort. "No one ever is Jim. I came to this world for sinners, not good people. Your unworthiness is your greatest claim!"
The fact that you are down, feeling your worst, and have blown it big time is when I stand with outstretched arms saying, "Come." I am the "God that comforteth those that are down." 2 Corinthians 7:6. Others may forsake you, reject you, cast mud at you, defame your name, and try to destroy you, but Not Me! "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, so that you may BOLDLY say, the Lord is your HELPER. You shall not fear what man shall do to you." Hebrews 13:5, 6.
Powerful, isn't it! That's why I'm a Christian. My God is not a vengeful God. My God doesn't seek retribution upon me when I'm seeking and confessing Him. Others may, but they simply and plainly do not KNOW GOD. God says to all of us, "Come on home and let Me comfort you."
So how do we receive this Divine Comfort? We must simply take it! God's Comfort is being continually and abundantly offered, but if you will not accept it then you cannot have it.
God's comfort does not come to us in any mysterious or arbitrary way. The indwelling Comforter, "brings to our remembrance" comforting things concerning our Lord, and, if we believe them, we are comforted by them.
When I was in my foxhole, God would bring me texts such as, "My soul wait though only upon God for my expectation is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation. He is my Defense. I shall not be moved." Psalms 62:5,6. In other words, by faith in God's Word I can expect that God will defend me, and my salvation is assured in Him. The scripture clearly states "According to your faith be it unto you." My responsibility is to believe, to Trust, and then Rest in the Lord of my Salvation. "He will fight for me." Exodus 14:14. I don't need any of the false substitutes. I have the real. I need only believe, and then follow.
Many times when the enemy is firing at me, God would bring a verse or an entire hymn to mind. I would rehearse these songs of promise in my mind and BELIEVE that God was working in my life, then peace would come and I would praise God for the trial of my faith that worketh patience. All trials, of whatever nature, teach us dependence upon the " God of all Comfort." So let your present trial have its perfect work bringing you to a complete surrender to the God of your Comfort.
On other occasions, when events were making my outlook really dim, God would bring my thoughts back to instances of former Divine deliverance. One such instance was when the forest fire was bearing down on our home and property. There was absolutely nothing that man could do to save our treasured Resting Place! It was at that darkest moment that God said, NO FURTHER! He rerouted the fire around us and over us. God reminded me that He loved me then and He loves me still.
But Lord, I failed You! Jim, how many times while your children were growing up did they miss the mark? Did you ever desert them? Would you ever desert them? "No Lord, Never, I cried!" Nor will I ever desert you! When you need me most, I am there for you. I am yours, always and forever.
IF we receive these whispers from God in simple faith, again and again, we are comforted, but IF we REFUSE to LISTEN to the voice of the Comforter, through His Word or to our conscience, and choose instead to listen to the voice of discouragement or despair, no comfort will enter our souls.
If Divine Comfort is to be ours, we must BELIEVE-TRUST and then REST in His abiding Presence. We need to repeat this until it becomes a habitual act and our habitual acts form our new character.
Unbelief is at the bottom of all our lack of comfort, and absolutely nothing else! The remedy for this unbelief is simple. We must make up our minds to believe every single solitary word of comfort that God has ever spoken, and we must utterly refuse to listen to any words of discomfort spoken by our own hearts, by our circumstances, or by the devil and his agents. We must set our faces like flint to BELIEVE-TRUST-and REST, because when everything around us goes haywire, it is not always easy to believe God's words of comfort. We must put our wills into this matter of being Divinely Comforted. We must choose to be comforted!
Whoever will adopt this life of faith on a continuous basis will come, sooner or later, into a blessed state of Divine Comfort.
In His Comfort,