Sadness, fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, pain. These are all unavoidable parts of life. If you are human, and I’m guessing you are, you’ve experienced each one of these emotions at some point. And if you haven’t yet, that day is coming. And when it does get here, if it hasn’t already, your soul will seek comfort.
The question is, where will you find it? I am notorious for seeking short-term comforts, whether it’s buttery shortbread, a quick shopping spree, or an isolated quiet corner to brood. But these things will only get me so far. A few moments later I’ll find myself a few calories heavier, a few dollars poorer, and sinking into the type of depression that only being alone with your thoughts can bring.
But God says that He is here for us in our distress. He says that His comfort is different than anything we can conjure up on our own. God’s comfort is not superficial but penetrates deep and is life-giving. When we seek comfort from God, we are blessed to experience a phenomenon that is uniquely Him.
How to Seek Comfort from God
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
God has asked us to come to Him when we are heavy hearted. He has said that in Him we will find rest. According to the Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible, the Greek word used for rest in this verse is anapausis, and actually means to refresh, or take ease, from occupation, oppression, or torment. And who doesn’t want real, bone-piercing rest when we feel so torn up inside?
But how? How do you actually do this in real life terms? It’s one thing to say that you’re going to give it to God, but a whole other thing to actually do it. Letting go, and allowing comfort is easier said than done.
Pray for Comfort
You cry out in anguish at His feet. Sometimes I think we feel we need to approach God appropriately and show Him that we’ve already grown, or that we are not feeling the way we’re feeling. But here’s some news for you, He already knows you more intimately than you do. So, if He already knows, go ahead and let it all hang out. David sure did, and He was God’s anointed king!!
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
So, get ugly with God. Let it all pour out. Allow the puffy eyes, the snot, the tears. Let your burden go.
Read Comforting Bible Verses
God has provided so much by way of his comforting words. In His unique omniscient way, He had you personally on His mind as He spoke them into existence. As you read these comforting scriptures now, allow them to water your soul and to renew your spirit.
1. Deuteronomy 31:8
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
2. Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
3. Job 11:16-18
Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;
you will be secure and will not fear.
You will forget your misery;
you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
its darkness will be like the morning.
And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
you will look around and take your rest in security.
4. John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
5. John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
6. Psalm 139:11-12
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
7. Romans 8:37-39
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
8. Psalm 4:8
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
9. Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
10. Psalm 91:14-16
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
What Happens When God Comforts Us
Now to the incredible part. Because God is all-knowing, and because He prepared a path for you before you were born (Ephesians 2:10), He not only knew that He would be comforting you, He knew that He’d be setting it up to comfort others through you.
You see, God doesn’t just work in the short-term, He has the ability to see the whole picture. He sees the chain reaction long before it’s been triggered. He sees your pain, and not only does He already have a plan to comfort you, but also to redeem your difficulty for His greater good.
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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The moment we fall to our knees in desperation before Him, asking for that which is inline with His heart, He begins to respond in the way that only He can…in abundance.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
So, when you are in need of comfort, He responds by giving you much more than you could ever ask, or even think of. And then usually, when the timing is right, He will place someone in your life for that overflow of comfort to spill onto.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Once you have gone through something traumatic, or have experienced anything in the extreme, you are left with a unique perspective that others can’t understand. Having walked through the fire yourself, you are in the best position to know how to comfort someone in a similar situation. Only you know the right words and the most sensitive actions.
God’s Promise of Comfort
Unfortunately, until the day of Christ’s return, there will be sorrow and pain, depression and anxiety are realities, and we will continue to mourn those who’ve passed on. But God’s ultimate comfort is in His promise of a better tomorrow for those who love and follow Him.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4
Until this day comes though, we will keep our eyes fixed on the comforting scriptures in God’s word, praying also to be used to spread that comfort beyond what we could have imagined.