THE RIGHT KIND OF COMFORT
My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” Psalm 119:82
One of my favorite paintings is one of a young man entering heaven. He is weary, barely walking, and Jesus catches him in a welcoming embrace. The comfort he seeks in embraces and shared tears greets him in person.
I picture David longing for this kind of comfort. Promises to sustain have been made and they do bring comfort but the kind that will dry all tears awaits him. It is a comfort in waiting.
All of us are in a waiting room for things to be made right. This world groans on its axis. This kingdom is diseased through and through. Yet in the meantime, I live here. I cling to the promises of God as I walk the way of the cross. Though I know in my heart that my path is redemptive, that the story of my life ends in stunning victory, I wait to see the totality of it fulfilled.
The night before Jesus’ arrest, He prayed in the garden. He was in His own waiting room. He prayed, “Please let this cup pass from me,” before He prayed, “Not my will but Thine be done.” He recognized that the One from whom He needed comfort was also the One who had the power to remove the cup of suffering. Is this not like a child who enters the hospital for a lifesaving medical procedure? The father leads him by the hand into the very place that will hurt him, yet that child also turns to his father for comfort. How can that be? It boils down to trust. What are the words to the Gospel song from several years back? “When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart.”
I cringe when I see one Christian hug another in the midst of very difficult circumstances and offer this sing-song cliché, “No need to cry. It’s going to be okay.” Be careful from whom you seek your comfort. Those who deny there could be tragedy on the horizon are also the ones who snatch verses out of context for their own personal theology. If I’m going to seek the company of someone to join me in God’s waiting room, it will be someone who has trusted God through their own Garden of Gethsemane and would not think of offering empty platitudes.
If arms are far from you today, where is your comfort? In the scriptures and in prayer. Review the storylines of your ancestors and God’s faithfulness during the times they could not see deliverance. The way to Canaan was fraught with many battles.
Trust the character of God and believe that His promises are for you. Recite them outloud. Though you may feel that you’ve lost your voice, it is just an illusion. Your strongest song of faith starts with the first note.
Hold us as we open our mouths to sing the ancient song of faith. Amen