Monday, March 29, 2010

What Comfort Is and Isn’t

What is comfort? Maybe it will help to see first what comfort is not. Comfort is not a "pep talk" urging you to hang in there, to tough it out, or to hold it together. Comfort is not an attempt to explain why things happen to people. Comfort is not a bunch of positive words about God being in control and everything being okay. All of these things may be good and useful in time, but they do not fill our primary need for comfort.

People comfort us primarily by feeling our hurt and sorrowing with us. Jesus illustrated the ministry of comfort when His friend Lazarus died. When Jesus arrived at the home of Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha, He wept with them (2 John 33-35). His response is especially interesting in light of what He did next; raise Lazarus from the dead (2 John 38-44).

Why didn't Jesus simply tell the grieving Mary and Martha, "No need to cry friends, because in a few minutes Lazarus will be alive again"? At that moment they needed someone to identify with their loss. Jesus met Mary and Martha's need for comfort by sharing in their sorrow and tears.

Later He performed the miracle that turned their sorrow to joy.

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