The concept of comfort combines the ideas of fellowship, community and companionship with the ideas of protection, strength and safety. When we feel hopeless because we can’t see the possibility of any good in our future, we need comfort so we have courage to take the next step. When we feel alone in the face of affliction, we need reassurance that all is not lost. Comfort lightens these emotional burdens because we are reminded that we are not alone and that the future we desire is still possible. Considering the following promises will help us fine tune our faith for those times when distress and despair seem ready to overwhelm our hearts.
Who shall separate us from Christ’s love? Shall those who cause us tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or who come at us with a sword? … In all these situations we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35, 37
The Lord does not comfort us by keeping us out of the battles of life. He comforts us by turning these battles into benefits. He makes stepping stones out of what could be stumbling blocks. Not only can no one separate us from Christ’s love, but through him we defeat our enemies and turn them into servants for our good—which is what it means to be “more” than a conqueror. For we fight not against people or events, but against unbelief. The battleground is not on the streets but in our souls. In one sense we cannot “defeat” famine or distress or nakedness. Nor can we prevent persecution, either physical or political. But by the grace God dispenses because of Christ’s intercession for us, these perilous situations become opportunities to reaffirm how satisfying God is to us as we anticipate the fellowship of eternal life. Because these situations cannot deprive us of our participation in the resurrection, we can maintain our longing to be found in Christ, righteous and ready to meet the Lord when he returns. When we experience the comfort this knowledge gives us in the midst of our struggles, we gain a clearer vision of the nature of the battle and an increased willingness to press on.
O Lord, because of the great love you have for me, comfort my heart with these words, so I will trust all your promises in the most difficult times, faithful to the end. Amen.