I don’t know about you but comfort isn’t exactly how I’d describe some of my most difficult times.
To be honest- it was during those times that I felt the farthest from God.
I didn’t feel comforted. I felt abandoned.
And that perceived abandonment caused me to rebel and lash out at God in ways only the wounded can.
Every time God has taken me out of my comfort zone I’ve raged and fought and wrestled. I’ve run and hid or turned and did the very things He had commanded me not to.
And it is only after He’s let me wear myself out, only after He’s come to find me, picked me up and put my feet back on solid ground that I’ve been able to look at my circumstances with any clarity at all.
I heard a song today by a Christian group called Social Club Misfits. In the song they sing, “When you’re afraid is the only time that a man can be brave.”
And I couldn’t help but think, “When you’re hurting is the only time a man can be comforted.”
I won’t even attempt to put God into some easy to understand box and try to explain why we experience some of the hardships we do. Because I don’t know. And I doubt I ever will this side of Heaven.
But I can say with one hundred percent surety that God carried me through each and every one of those hard times in my life. Maybe I felt alone but I never was alone.
The comfort hasn’t always been so evident. And most of the time it won’t be.
That’s because there are too many things in this world to distract us. The enemy doesn’t let you call a respite. He will kick you hard and fast when you’re down.
And lately God has been showing me three things that keep us from the comfort He wants to give.
Sometimes our focus is off.
Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
God’s word tells us to give thanks in every situation. But when we face the hard ones we often believe we have nothing to be thankful for. THAT IS A LIE.
We have so much to be thankful for yet we can’t take our eyes off the bad long enough to see the good.
Other times our pride stops us from experiencing the comfort He has to offer.
We’re so angry and offended that things aren’t how we thought they should be. We think we know better than God and the very idea of doing anything other than reminding God and everyone else how we’ve been wronged causes us to puff ourselves up and miss any comfort coming our way.
The third way I’ve missed God’s comfort is in my stubbornness. This happens when I refuse to experience the hard situation. When I do everything I can to distract myself from what’s going wrong in an effort to spare myself the feelings of loss, loneliness, and hurt.
But the comfort that I now see so clearly is revealed for a purpose. And that purpose is to give that comfort back out.
All of those difficult situations have given me a heart for those going through similar things. And it’s because of the comfort I received that I have anything to give to others.
2 Cor. 1:3-4 says, “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 goes on to say that “then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
The truth is that we may never know why God has allowed certain hardships to touch our lives but no matter the what’s and the why’s what we do know is that everything is intended to bring God glory.
Even our troubles.
Some of the greatest healing we will ever experience is taking a situation that caused us pain and using it to be God’s hands and feet in this world. Using our troubles to bring comfort to those around us.
When life gives you lemons and all that… you know? And yes… it makes you want to roll your eyes and scream.
But honestly what better way to look at our hurts and hardships than as learning experiences. As times when we can be filled with all God has to offer so that we overflow into the lives of those around us.
No. Life isn’t easy. And sometimes those “hard” times are more like crushing times. But even in the worse possible times truth is still truth. The Lord is good and He is faithful. And one day He will wipe away every tear.
Until then, maybe we can help each other stand when the sting of salty hurts blurs our vision.