From: Bob Williams
If it were possible to characterize this world, it would be appropriate to say it is full of sorrow, pain, tragedy, corruption, grief, sadness and disappointment. The news we receive daily always has death and destruction in the headlines. Every family is affected. We need comfort, but where does it come from? Surely the world offers no comfort to its victims. If we turn to the Bible, we find that God can supply the answer to this need.
Jesus told His disciples in John 14:16, 26: “I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever … the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
“Comforter,” as used here, does not refer to one who makes things easy for us. Comfort in the Bible has the connotation of encouragement, or one who encourages; that is, someone who builds us up, strengthens and supports us so we can have the internal fortitude to handle the issues of life in this “present evil world,” (Gal. 1:4).
How we need this comfort. We need someone to come alongside and help, to speak kindly and to support us. God supplies comfort to our spirits by His Spirit, Who indwells believers. Paul provides an example in Ro. 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us …”
Comfort can also come from something. For example, we have great comfort in God’s Word: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope,” (Ro. 15:4). In the next verse God is spoken of as “the God of patience and consolation,” in verse 13 as “the God of hope,” and in verse 33 as “the God of peace.” In other words, God comforts and consoles us by His Word. “Consolation” has one of the same base Greek words as “comfort,” meaning to call near or draw near. God draws us near through His Word and His Spirit in us. We become like-minded and have the same heart as His. He gives us peace and hope through His Word.
We are never told we will not experience pain and sorrow; but God does inform us in 1 Thes. 4:13-18: “… sorrow not, even as others who have no hope … wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” This passage is designed to build us up and strengthen us, giving us comfort, hope and peace. That is why this passage is frequently read at funerals.
Consider this portion of God’s Word carefully: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God,” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). What a blessing and a challenge to believers in a fallen world.