Divine comfort is from the Father-heart of the God of all comfort. We must allow Him to release it in us and through us to comfort others and reveal Him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
I have absolutely no doubt that divine comfort is a very real and deep truth, because I’ve known it first-hand. I also vividly recall how many believers asked, in the weeks and months following my beloved husband’s death, if God really does comfort us. At the time, I had too much to deal with to really think about this, but it’s something that has remained with me. I often wonder how many believers simply aren’t sure and certain that His comfort is real, available, and powerful.
Divine comfort is a promise from the Father-heart of God.
There are innumerable verses in the Bible that tell us clearly that God assures us of His divine comfort. What isn’t always recognised, however, is that this is a manifestation of His Father-heart. A powerful and enduring childhood memory is that of the comfort of our parents. It’s a memory of strong arms, soothing words, and a sense of being utterly surrounded by safety and love. Within it is an assurance that the parent is both willing and able to offer real, loving comfort. This is our earthly mirror of the comfort that God extends. It is there to remind us that He is so much more than simply ‘Father.’ He is also Abba, Daddy, and loves us enough to die for us.
Believing this is a matter of faith. We choose to believe what God has said, but this is often difficult to do. Because God is Spirit and we understand comfort on a largely physical or physiological level, we often miss the powerful truth that He desires to give us His divine comfort in times of need. Yet He is our perfect Father. If our earthly parents desire to comfort us, how much more so our heavenly Father whose love for us is immeasurable. Faith always entails believing what we have not yet ‘seen.’ In faith, we can take hold of the absolute promise of divine comfort in our times of need, because it’s the manifestation of His Father-heart.
We receive divine comfort when we need it.
Divine comfort is something we will never experience unless we first experience tribulation. It is in the times of tragedy and trial that God’s promise of comfort is fulfilled. Two truths emerge from this. The first is that there will be suffering, trial, or tribulation. There would be no point in promising comfort if it was never needed. It is the meeting of a need and remains an ‘abstract’ but absolute truth until it is required. This is the ‘downside’ of comfort. To have it, we must first be in a place of suffering.
The second truth is that we can be absolutely certain that we will have it. No matter what for the trial takes, our God will comfort us according to our need. The comfort He gives one of His children will be different to that He gives to another. It’s an intimate gift, one which knows our pain and our weakness, and it’s tailor-made for our individual circumstances. Divine comfort is never one of platitudes or rehearsed rituals. It’s real, it’s powerful, and it’s all-encompassing, and it’s as faithful as God Himself.
How divine comfort is manifested.
This is something that many believers find baffling – until they actually experience it for themselves. God releases divine comfort in two ways. The first is through His Spirit. This is a supernatural release of His power. It is something that fills us and enfolds us, and brings a peace that defies explanation. A powerful example is the kind of ‘cocoon’ we experience after the death of a loved one – something the world commonly calls ‘shock.’ While there is a physiological element, the children of God are supernaturally wrapped in the safe place of His comfort. There, in His arms, we are protected and assured, and have time to begin the healing. The pain doesn’t go away. The trauma isn’t magically erased. Divine comfort simply lifts us above this in a peace that empowers us to deal with it in faith.
The other way God releases divine comfort is through other people. This is an important detail that many believers often overlook. For whatever reason, God has chosen to often manifest Himself through His children. Jesus is our perfect example. He came to reveal the Father to the world. Our purpose is to reveal Jesus, and through HIm, God. That is why God’s comfort often comes to us through the comfort of others. The Spirit stirs and empowers them to draw near and release divine comfort in our times of need. Human comfort relies on platitudes and rehearsed interaction. God’s comfort is recognisable by its ability to lift us above rather than simply empathise in our situation.
Living sacrifices are vessels of divine comfort.
As humans, we have an odd tendency to see our sufferings as ‘ours alone.’ Somehow, we imagine that suffering is something intensely individual and unique. While each situation or circumstance may vary, suffering is equal. Pain is universal. We can never presume that one person’s pain is greater or less than another’s. Divine comfort is first given for us – to ease our pain, to enable us to heal, and to empower us to move on in faith. But like all things of God, it has a greater purpose. It is intended to be a blessing to us and through us.
Again, we need to look at Christ. Through Him, we see the Father-heart of God and are given the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. All things of the Spirit are intended to overflow and benefit those around us. This is where we sometimes get stuck. Living sacrifices means we lay down our lives for the good of others. Comfort is no exception. Our suffering is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ, and the divine comfort we receive is not only for ourselves. In effect, we lay down our suffering for the good of others. We allow God to use it and the comfort He gives to touch and transform the lives of others. A living sacrifice is not only one in surrender to the Spirit. It is one willing to be used by the Spirit, even when it means our intensely personal suffering is the means to do so.
Divine comfort is the power to transform suffering.
None of us want to even think of suffering. It is a painful, seemingly pointless experience out which nothing good can possibly come. I’ve endured more than my ‘fair share’ of suffering, and have to confess that I have often wished I could have learnt things in an easier and less painful way. The ‘why me’ bleat was often on my lips, and for a long time, I could only see the negative. Yet, through the powerful release of His divine comfort, He taught me an important truth. His comfort is the power that transforms suffering into a blessing – if we allow it.
There were many times, when I was ‘up to my ears’ in a situation, that I didn’t see the comfort. It was only looking back that I was able to recognise the sustaining, supernatural presence of God which brought me through. It was divine comfort which released the grace to forgive and which helped me to see that what I have endured can be used to help others. His comfort has given me the courage to look beyond my own hurts and tragedies and to reach out in obedience. Instead of holding onto my suffering as uniquely my own, His comfort has brought me to a place where am able to yield it to Him for His work and purposes. In this way, suffering is transformed for good.
The God of all comfort supplies divine comfort.
This is a wonderful truth to take hold of and never let go. Our God is the God of all comfort – all means all, everything for every situation and circumstance. There is no suffering too great that His divine comfort cannot reach and surround us. But today’s verse reminds us powerfully that the comfort we receive is also so we can give. In His grace, God has taught me a powerful truth. When I reach out to give comfort as led by the Spirit, even in my darkest days, that releases divine comfort in me and through me. When I give God’s comfort, I am infused, surrounded, and empowered by a supernatural comfort that is far greater than the suffering. Divine comfort truly is ‘all comfort’ – supernatural, eternal, and all-encompassing.
Father God, thank You for Your divine comfort that has no end and meets our deepest suffering. Grant us the grace to reach to You in times of need and to trust in Your ability to not only comfort us, but to release Your comfort through us to others. Help us to lay down our lives, including our suffering, at the cross, so that You may transform it into victory for us and those in need. Make us willing vessels, Lord, to share Your immeasurable comfort with a suffering world.