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The comfort of God's company
- Jacob Ninan
If you ask preachers what their audiences like to hear most about, the answer would probably be that they like to hear about the promises of God. People are looking for comfort. The world is a dreary place to be in, and we can't have too much of comfort. God knows that all too well, and He also tells His prophets to proclaim comfort to His people (Is.40:1).
But words of comfort can be brought forth by false prophets too, who proclaim peace where there can be no peace and who try to cover up cracks in the wall with whitewash (Ez.13:10). Can there be true comfort from the Lord where there is no true repentance, and where sin is covered up and not forsaken? Just as a wound cannot be healed if it has not been first washed, we cannot experience the healing comfort of the Lord without first getting right with Him.
It is right and legitimate for us to go to the Lord and ask for deliverance from difficult circumstances and to look for comfortable lives. But the Lord does not always grant such requests. He knows that difficult situations can make us tough, and that when we have been tested we can strengthen others (Jas.1:2-4;Lk.22:31,32). The comfort that we can look for all the time is the comfort of His presence with us, and not always the comfortable ease of a life without problems.
Jesus promises us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (He.13:5). He will stick with us through thick and thin. Even if we are going through flood or fire, He will be right there with us making sure that neither flood nor fire can overpower us (Is.43:2). Even when we can closely feel the threat of flood and fire, the knowledge of His presence with us will be our strength. We know that if He is with us we will be safe everywhere and always.
Can anything take God's love away from us (Ro.8:35)? If He loved us when we were His enemies, we can be sure that now that we are His children we are loved much more (Ro.5:10). This is something we must hold on to, even if circumstances, people and our own feelings seem to scream at us telling us the very opposite.
If we want to experience God's comfort all the time, what we need to make sure is that we stay with Him always. Let not unbelief take us away from His presence. Let not sin come between us, but if it does let us confess it and receive immediate cleansing (1Jn.2:1). Let us also make it a habit to receive the comfort of the Holy Scriptures daily which the Heavenly Comforter wants to give to us.