Today’s bible study is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
We all need words of comfort sometimes, especially when we are living in troubled times, confronting a troubled situation, or faced with a difficult issue. We all need that proverbial ‘soft place to fall,’ and, all too often, we have none. Unfortunately, when we most need compassion and mercy, we cannot find it, because we are looking in all the wrong places.
Some people, when needing words of comfort and consolation, seek to find them in alcohol or drugs. Admittedly, an alcoholic haze may temporarily ease the pain and distress, leaving a passing feeling of ease. Drugs, both prescription tranquilizers nod antidepressants and illegal substances such as marijuana and cocaine may serve the same purpose. But at what cost? The cost goes far beyond the dollars and cents involved. It includes damage, often irrevocable, to our bodies and our minds. It causes you to lose jobs, to lose friends, to lose homes, and to even lose families. Used to excess or with little knowledge, these can even lead to loss of life itself.
Others find consolation in shopping or eating or gambling. Less harmful, perhaps, but harmful nevertheless. An addicted shopper may have four walk-in closets filled with clothes, many pieces unworn and with store tags still attaches, yet be miserable and troubled. Those who find consolation in a bag of potato chips or an order of French fries may experience a fleeting sense of satisfaction as their bleak little existence is permeated with the smell, the heat, the salt and the crunch. But this too has unfortunate consequences.
Placing a bet can also produce a moment of excitement and happiness, especially when the bet is won and pays off. It’s all too easy to buy lottery tickets or drive to a casino. But, inevitably, the end result if poverty rather than wealth and disillusionment rather than comfort.
So, in a world fraught with trials and troubles, where can we turn for comfort in difficult times that will not harm us in any way? Is there anywhere we can be accepted, loved and even cherished, even when we are not feeling at our best? Is there anyone who loves us in spite of all our pettiness and weakness? For Christians, the answer is yet, and can be found whenever we need it in the words of Paul’s second letter to the people of Corinth.
The Father of mercies will comfort those who are in trouble and any one of us who suffers tribulation. So, the next time you begin to feel stressed-out, let down, lonely, afraid, anxious, angry, overworked and underappreciated; take a moment to read these words once again. Read them slowly and give them a chance to penetrate your harsh exterior. Read them yet again as your heart slows and your body begins to relax. And read them again, until you feel the sure and ever-present love of God the Father.
When you truly feel His comfort and consolation in your heart, you will never have to face anything alone. You will always have a safe place to fall. You will always be loved unconditionally. And the only price is believing and trusting. There are no negative consequences, no costs, and no degradation. There is only uplifting, redeeming, strengthening love and peace. May we seek it and find it every day of our lives.