We may not fully understand God’s omniscience.
We may not think too much about His omnipotence.
And we may not easily get at all what the big deal is
concerning His eternity.
But because no one is a stranger to pain and affliction we can
easily embrace “the God of all comfort.”
For this study we are going to split it into two sections:
1) A contemplation of God’s comfort and 2) How to experience God’s comfort.
Jesus can relate to our pain because He has experienced it Himself
We can go through the Scriptures and find situation after
situation where Jesus experienced something terrible or grievous or, at least,
we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One
who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Loneliness: Matthew 26:46, “About the ninth hour
Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying," ELI, ELI, LAMA
SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Temptation: Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up by
the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
of close relative/friend: Matthew 14:11-13, “And his head was brought on a
platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. His disciples
came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.
Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded
place by Himself…”
Matthew 27:35, “And when they had crucified Him…”
Betrayal by a close friend: Matthew 26:47-48a, “While
He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by
a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders
of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign…”
Matthew 26:59, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to
obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death.”
Matthew 26:71-72, “When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl
saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of
Nazareth.’ And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the
Matthew 8:20, “Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of
the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’”
was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom
men hide their face
He was despised, and we
did not esteem Him.
4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He
Yet we ourselves esteemed
Smitten of God, and
5But He was pierced through for our
He was crushed for our
The chastening for our
well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we
The Man of
Sorrows has become the God all comfort.
All of God’s attributes intensify the magnificence of His comfort
Because God is omniscient He knows the deepest and
most intimate detail of our lives. This includes our thoughts, hopes, desires,
and feelings. Therefore, He is able to fully understand what we are going
through. But not only does He understand the pain, but He also knows the
Because God is omnipotent there is no pain too deep
or too complex that He cannot heal. His arm is not too short to save;
therefore, it is not too short to heal.
Because God is eternal He knew our sorrows from time
past and has a solution for all time in the future.
Because God is immutable His desire for our
well-being will never change.
Because God is love He will always have deep concern
for us. He will never toy with us or be glad to see us suffer because we
Our source of comfort is God
In Psalm 143 David speaks of a number of anguishes.
He was persecuted.
His life was crushed.
He was dwelling in dark places.
He was like one long dead.
His spirit was overwhelmed.
His heart was appalled.
His spirit was failing.
His enemies were after him.
So in all of this to what or whom did he turn?
Verse 6, “I stretch out my hands to You; My soul
longs for You, as a parched land.”
The thirsty soul will find no greater satisfaction than in
that of its God. The best that the world has to offer is escape; God offers
Himself. The world scorns weakness; God uses it. The world encourages us to
complain about our misery; God tells us to focus on His greatness. We love
self-pity; God wants self-denial.
The Scriptures abound with promises to the afflicted.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.”
Psalm 40:17, “Since I am afflicted and needy, the Lord is
mindful of me; Thou art my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.”
Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up
Isaiah 57:15, “’I dwell on a high and holy place and also
with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the heart of the
Jeremiah 17:14, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved, for Thou art my praise.”
What must grip our hearts is that these are not abstract
principles but concrete promises confirmed by none less than the supreme God.
Our main source of comfort is not always what God gives but
in who God is. Psalm 73:28, “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”
How to receive God’s comfort
It is easy in Christianity to toss out clichés. When someone
is confused it is easy to say “Trust God.” Now that is true to a very great
degree, but then we leave the person sitting there saying, “But how?” We have
given them the glorious destination but with no map on how to get there.
Jeremiah 16:14, "They have healed the brokenness of My
people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no
We are all probably guilty of this. We take the easy road.
It is a road that is short and well paved but it does not really take us very
far. It is the road of simple clichés. Then there is the hard road. It is
longer, not so well lit and in a lot of places we have to hack through the
entanglements and underbrush. But at the end it is much more satisfying. This
is the road of support, encouragement, friendship, and caring.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6Therefore humble yourselves under the
mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Humility means what?
Not demanding that God do something right now
Not telling God how He must remedy the situation
Not focusing on “Why me?” and playing the victim card
Telling people about the pain so that they might prayer, support,
encourage, and help but not telling them so that you might be the center of
Not despising yourself because you are weak and vulnerable or
because you make mistakes or because you let your emotions get the best of you
Our frailty is not a cause of scorn from God, but because He
knows our weakness, He has compassion. It is, indeed, our very impotence which
draws forth the kindness and strength of God. How often we are tempted to think
of our weaknesses as reason for the Lord to despise us, to shun us. We take the
attitude that because we fail, we must stand alone and overcome or be overcome.
We are driven by some prideful compulsion to prove ourselves to others, to
ourselves and to God. Because we judge on the basis of outward appearance, we
assume that God does also. Yet it was the lepers, the paralyzed, and the dead
whom Christ touched. The scriptures say, “For power is perfected in weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9). What we regard as a hindrance, God may see as a vehicle
to manifest His great and magnificent glory.
The wicked want God to give them gain; the righteous see
that their gain is God.
If we do not understand the “why” of a situation then it
becomes more necessary to understand the “Who.” Understanding the “why” of a
trial is limited to that one situation. But understanding God applies to all
Isaiah 51:12, “I, even I, am He who comforts you…”
anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus.
verse we see four different types of prayer being mentioned: prayer,
supplication, thanksgiving, and requests.
what God is saying is that when you are feeling anxious you should pray, pray,
pray, and pray.
Recovery comes mainly through growth and not rescue
We want immediate results. When we are in pain we want the
pain to be gone now. So we turn to alcohol, drugs, eating, or other immediate,
and not ultimately helpful, means of relief.
Our faith may not be big enough to move a mountain, but it
is always big enough to move God.
Hosea 5:15, “In their affliction they will earnestly seek
me.” Our greatest need is the presence of God; our greatest motivation is,
1After these things there was a feast of
the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew
Bethesda, having five porticoes.
these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered,
[waiting for the moving of the waters;
an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up
the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in
was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.]
man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in
that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?"
sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when
the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before
said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk."
the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the
Sabbath on that day.
In John 5 there was a man who suffered from paralysis for 38
years and every time he thought that he might be healed someone else stepped in
front and stole away his hope. Then Jesus came and, in His mercy, healed him.
This man never gave up hope. He kept trying for 38 years. Had he been home
feeling sorry for himself he would never have met Jesus. Whether our pain is
emotional, physical, social, or spiritual, Jesus can heal us. And Jesus can
more than heal; He can restore. This man may never have walked and yet not only
did Jesus heal his paralysis but He enabled him to carry his pallet and walk
Jesus can do more than heal our crushing grief; He can
give us joy.
He can do more than heal our social fears; He can teach
us to be a great friend.
Jesus can do more than deliver us from hell; He can make us
a citizen of Heaven.
The intimacy of healing
Healing is one of God’s greatest times of intimacy. When God
heals someone, that person is not merely a character in a big show. He is not a
prop used to wow everyone and then left to go his way. Yes, many of Jesus’
healings were done publically, but if we examine them we see that His attention
was on the person and not on the crowd. He did not approach an invalid and wave
His arms and shout, “Come gather around and see what I am about to do.” Rather,
He asked, “What can I do for you?”
In Mark 5 a 12-year old girl had died. When Jesus arrived at
the official’s house there was a commotion. There were relatives and friends
and, as in the tradition of the times, mourners hired to weep and wail.
But Jesus put them all out and only took with Himself the
child’s father and mother and His three companions. And in the silence of the
room He took the child’s hand and spoke and the child rose up alive.
Mark 5:40, “He took the child's father and mother and the
disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.”
There were three healings here: the child’s death and the
grief and fear of the father and mother. And here in a small room in a dusty
village Jesus healed all three and allowed them to release all of their
emotions, all of their joy, and all of their praise in intimacy.
Sometimes your greatest healing may be in the solitude of
your room or in a quiet corner of the church.
Healing and then giving
2 Chronicles 32:25, “But Hezekiah's heart was proud and he
did not respond to the kindness shown him.”
Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Manoah’s wife, and Elizabeth were
all barren. Moses was driven from his people and Joseph was sold into slavery.
We are crushed and left wounded. But why does that hurt often remain untouched?
One reason might be to prepare us for God’s healing, not that we might be able
to receive it, but so that we will be able to give even more once we do receive
God wants us to be a giving people. He gives us an ocean of
blessings so that we might be a river of blessings to others. But there is a
problem. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask
with wrong motives…” What is the wrong motive? It is “that you may spend what
you get on your pleasures.” We want to keep and not to give. Pray not just for
your own healing but that you might then comfort others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God
of all comfort,
comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who
are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by
just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is
abundant through Christ.
When we are hurting terribly we wonder why God is not there.
But that is never true. God is always with us and when the time is right and we
are ready, He will accomplish a great thing in our lives. It may not be what we
expect or when we expect it, but this we can be assured, it will be better
because God is faithful and compassionate.
When we see someone else in pain we can take our experience
of God’s comfort and give it to them. We can share verses that meant a lot to
us. We can be available to listen or just quietly be with them. We can pray
with them. We can help them work out the situation. We knew pain and then we
knew how wonderful God’s comfort can be. Our response then should be to share
God’s with comfort with others.
God can use many means to heal
Oftentimes, and possibly even most times, God will choose a
means other than Himself directly to heal.
Some of these means may be:
Counseling: Professional, Pastoral, and from other Christians
A Christian book
Deliverance through our own efforts: God did deliver the
Israelites from Egypt
By us changing our attitude
Through our own efforts to change the situation: ex. Making our
work environment more righteous
“So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was
concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then
they bowed low and worshiped.”
Even in the most difficult of times He is worthy to receive
all glory and honor and praise.
addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s
comfort means to us?
do we find it easy to blame God for difficult circumstances?
does not physically hug us or whisper audible words of encourage in our ears.
So what are some ways that we can actually experience the comfort of God?
are some ways that we can comfort others?
is it that sometimes when we are in the lowest point of a trial that we do not
seem to feel the comfort of God at all?
do our own afflictions enable us to better comfort other people?
the Bible, what are ways in which God comforted some people?
is God so perfectly able to comfort us?
someone is in a tough situation that is entirely their own doing then when
should we offer them comfort and when should we admonish them? Feel free to
compose your own example of such a situation and how you would respond to it.
10) What are some ways of
how we might willfully or unconsciously refuse God’s comfort?
You oversee the “Mercy Ministry” which responsibilities include
hospital visits, encouraging the discouraged and fainthearted, going to the
homes of the incapacitated and helping out, and listening to those who need
support. Todd is someone who views emotions as a weakness and whose response to
everything is to either repent or to “just do something about it.”
Inexplicably, he just joined your ministry. You are concerned that he will be
overbearing and overwhelm those who are tottering, but you do not want to
discourage his desire to serve. So you take him aside to give him some examples
of situations where people might need comfort, encouragement, and support and
what you would do for them and say to them. What might you say?