The God of All Comfort: A Time to Revisit

It’s been 6 months since we first published “The God of All Comfort”.  The intent of that March recording was to offer words of encouragement during the extraordinary times created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the virus’ arrival, we’ve referred to the changes caused by it as the “new normal”.  However, secretly, we hoped the changes would not be “typical” but instead only “temporary disruptions” that would eventually “go away”.  But they didn’t and they haven’t.

In that video, we shared our belief that God was in control of this situation and that He would be with us during the time of this dreadful health pandemic.  So today, we revisit March 2020 to see where we’ve landed and to see if the God of all comfort has made good on His offer to comfort us.

Where has the time gone?

It’s time to inventory how you’ve been spending your time. In March, we offered several ways to maximize our time while sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.

We talked about the need to sustain our relationships in new ways.  It included expanding our technology to “reach out and touch”.  Since that time, I can’t share the number of Zoom events I’ve attended–meetings with family, Zoom coffees, Zoom birthdays.  God created us for relationship (Gen. 2:18). That’s why it is important to maintain our personal communities during this time.

For Ron (my husband) and I, the most difficult thing with COVID-19 has been separation from our family. We miss the trips to be with siblings and the special times we share–laughing, hugging, and doing silly things together.  I guess that’s why God created family (Gen. 1:28).

In the meanwhile

Stephen Colbert has a segment on his late-night show called, “In the meanwhile”.  It is the perfect lead into this part of my WordBytes today to describe the events that have occurred in tandem with the coronavirus.

In the meanwhile, our shrinking economy, social unrest, and political division are proving to be as deadly as COVID-19.  This is because they further weaken our fragile economy and strain our emotional capacity to deal with all the changes in our life.

In the meanwhile, we now live in a COVID-19 world.  Businesses are slowly reopening.  We’ve implemented public health directives intended to slow the spread of the disease and ensure safety of the community.   Mandates to encourage social distancing and the wearing of masks, like many of the changes we now live with, have been met with anger and resistance.

In the meanwhile, demands for equality and social justice further heighten racial tension within this nation. What is the best way to educate our children–online, in-class, or hybrid?  Only time will tell. In the meanwhile, where is the God of all comfort?

God of All Comfort:  Our Constant

“The God of all comfort” is an Old Testament description of God who is the ultimate source of every true act of comfort (Ps. 23:4; Ps. 119:76).  The Greek word for comfort is related to the familiar word paraclete, one who comes alongside to help.  It is another name for the Holy Spirit (John 14:16).

Comfort is often used to mean softness and ease.  But this is not the meaning in 2 Cor. 1:3-4.  The Apostle Paul is saying that God came to him in the middle of his suffering and trouble to strengthen him and give him courage and boldness.

Paul thanks the God of all Comfort for his deliverance from the trials and tribulations he experienced in Asia (Acts 19).  Consequently, God delivered Paul from all these (2Cor. 1:8-10) and provided for all his needs.  This deepened Paul’s love and trust in God.  It was Paul’s personal need and God’s divine response–His mercy and comfort–that drew Paul even closer to God than before his trials.  Are you closer to God since March 2020?

God is still in the heavens and He reigns over all the world (Ps. 103:19). God has not changed (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17).  Has God not come alongside us (paraclete) to help us during this time of trouble?  Has God not been there to provide divine comfort–strength and courage–during this time of change?

God promises to faithfully care for us even in the midst of our trouble.  This is evident in the fact that WE ARE STILL HERE. It is in recognition of God’s comfort that with gratitude we can lift our hands in praise to God.

That we may be able to comfort…

What have we learned since March 2020 about the God of all Comfort?  How will we share what we have learned with others?   Just as Paul shared with the church at Corinth, sharing how we endured afflictions and trials can benefit others (2 Cor. 1:5-6).  As God comforts us, we can comfort others. In doing so, we not only encourage those going through these difficult times, but also ensure their ability to persevere.

By extending our comfort, we can help our community not only survive but thrive in the midst of change.  We can help others increase their emotional capacity and their ability to move forward rather than being stuck in the past.

Most importantly, we can introduce them to the God of all Comfort.  Gloria Gaither leaves us  this observation about the God of all comfort.

God walks with us. He scoops us up in His arms or simply sits with us in silent strength until we cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes, even now, He is there. 

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