Miserable Comforters All!

Comfort food.

The headlines and photos stare at in me the market. ‘Tis the season in New England, for breads, soups, cheese, and pie. We set in our stores and hunker down for the winds of winter are about to blow.

Creatures of comfort,

aren’t we all, here in the west? Other places, as well, but I only write what I know. We dress for comfort, prefer comfortable chairs, quilts and soft bedding, warm sweaters, and hot coffee. There are industries who know the way to build their customer base is to offer us comfort. We bite every time.

Comfortable friends.

This is how we choose, is it not? Who will breach our inner circle and gain our most heart-felt trust. Those with whom we feel most comfortable and at ease. People with whom we can “just be ourselves” unfiltered.

We are experts at comfort. We seek it for ourselves and we desire it for others. “Oh, I wouldn’t want to make her uncomfortable.” “It’s important for visitors to be completely comfortable.” “We’ve designed these pews for comfort.”

And I’m just like this, hobbit that I am. Putting in my store of comfortable shoes, pillows, and friends.

But, recently, I heard a speaker teach on Jesus in the desert. She remarked that the evil one tempted our hungry Lord to provide His own comfort by turning stones into bread. And this was entirely in Jesus’ power, but Jesus chose, instead, to wait for the comfort of the Lord.

And, I thought about the things to which I turn for comfort – food, drink, my own abilities, influential friends and connections, the job/church/town/people I know who are like me, money in the bank – and I wondered.

Am I so quick to self-sooth, I miss out on the comfort God wants to provide?

His comfort may not initially appeal, and I may not even recognize it as comfort, but still, wouldn’t it be better to receive what I need from the God of all Comforts than from my own design?

There was nothing wrong with bread. It’s not wrong to eat when we’re hungry. Nor is it wrong to use our God-given abilities to provide. But, in the desert, Jesus learned to wait on His Father and to rely completely on Him. And isn’t our story all about learning to live like He lived?

How will Jesus-followers comfort others with the comfort we’ve received from Christ, if we continually provide our own comfort?

This is no small concern. We’re in times when anxiety and fear are high. I hear it in the conversations around me every day. People are distressed and seeking comfort.

What will we offer them? A comfort we’ve devised? How unloving to offer them less than something directly from our Source!

And, if we continually seek comfort, what will we do when our comfort collides with His commands? It’s uncomfortable to cultivate friendships with people with whom we are NOT initially comfortable (or ever!)

It’s uncomfortable to speak unpopular truths.

It’s uncomfortable to miss our favorite television shows or pass on the latest best-seller so we can research what God’s Word says so we can speak intelligently about it with a friend who is disheartened or straying or experiencing grief.

It’s uncomfortable to visit hospital rooms or addiction treatment centers. It’s uncomfortable to sit beside an inconsolable friend in grief. It’s uncomfortable to help clean the house of a hoarder.

It’s uncomfortable to remain calm in the face of a teen’s wrath to show them they won’t scare you away. It’s uncomfortable to listen to someone who has been wounded by the church.

It’s uncomfortable to make others uncomfortable by refusing to go along with status quo, to play the game. Trouble-makers foster discomfort, and we are entering times where just living biblically will make us radicals, disrupters, and revolutionaries.

Are we ready to abandon the comforts of our own devices to wait for the comfort of the Lord?

And if warm bread, hot coffee, influential connections, and soft beds that comfort for the moment, but then are gone appeal – imagine what the comforts of the God of all Comfort will do for the eternal soul?

Imagine facing a hurting, frightened, confused people seeking comfort, you with no visible source of comfort assuring them that God is sufficient, and abundantly so! A moment when even our emptiness testifies to God’s riches and strength.

His presence as we engage to build relationships with people unlike us,

as we minister through disasters and threats of war,

as we work to build bridges across the great divide of souls,

as we stand with no ability to self-sooth, but completely reliant on Him –

His presence will fill our lives, our relationships, and our stories, so that never again will we settle for bread of our own making

But only the Bread of Heaven.

Where are we seeking comfort, loved ones? What if we delayed just long enough to ask God what He might provide instead?

Will be represent Jesus, or like Job’s friends, be just “miserable comforters all?” It’s important we each answer that question.

What comfort can we offer in these times? Are we offering the best? #Jesus #comfort #hardtimes Click To Tweet

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1 Comment

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  1. Terry & Patricia Lampel says:

    Good stuff, Lori… thanks! We ARE comfort prone, aren’t we? Thinking of the folks in TX, FL, and especially the Caribbean islands & Puerto Rico that were devastated by the storms. The Father must have a boat-load waiting for them!