It’s said that when wounded soldiers cry out on the battlefield, they call for their mothers. I think this must be because the first and longest job of a mother is to comfort her child – first with food, warmth and touch, later more with a listening ear and advice. And of course, there are plenty of Band-Aids, warm blankets, story books, and bowls of chicken soup in between.
Comforting others is one way to be Christlike. I struggle with Christlikeness because I just don’t feel worthy or able to be anything like Christ at all. And of course, in our natural, fleshly self we can’t. But with the help of the Holy Spirit living within us, we are able to begin exhibiting the love, joy, peace, patience and comfort that Jesus lived out every day. You see, God is in the comfort business:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4
One way God comforts us is through provision. He knows what we need, and He will provide for us exactly when we need it. Just like a good mother, God doesn’t so much want to make us comfortABLE, as He wants to be with as we go through the inevitable tough times and comfort us in our distress. When we look back, we should be able to see that God didn’t always give us everything we wanted, but He gave us everything we needed, and His love was always there to fill in the gaps.
Another way God comforts us is by listening and giving advice. Through prayer we can unburden all our cares and troubles on God and He will respond by reminding us of scripture, sermons or stories, or having our paths cross with someone who’s been there or is a comforting presence.
And God comforts us with His promises. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He has promised that if we believe in Jesus, we will gain eternal life and inherit Heaven as a child of God. He has promised to work all things for good for those who love Him. He has promised a clean slate and new mercies every morning. He has promised to be faithful in completing the good work He has begun in you…and so much more!
And isn’t that what all good mothers do? They give themselves up for us. They make the time, they expend the effort, they show up, and they sacrifice their desires out of love for us, to give us comfort in a world that often doesn’t seem to care.
Now think about it. We can be Christlike by comforting people in the same ways. We have been blessed with abundance, and we can open our hands to share with friends or the needy. We can come alongside people going through a difficult season and walk with them through it. We can allow our children to endure some uncomfortable situations, making them confident that our love will always be there for them. We can be a listening ear, a sounding board, and an impartial advice giver, reminding our friends and loved ones of uplifting scripture and encouraging them with our stories of God’s comfort. And we can be people who keep promises. We can put our relationships first, be a friend in any weather, uphold our marriage vows, really show up for people, and be persons of integrity who say what they mean and do what they say. We can be willing to sacrifice our time, money, convenience and emotions to comfort others with the same comfort we have received from God.
PRAYER: Father, give me Your eyes and Your heart to recognize people who need comfort and encouragement and show me ways to be a comforter to them just as the Holy Comforter comforts me. Amen.
Tidings of comfort and joy,