Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

It is not easy to find comfort in this world, at least the sort of comfort that is deep, real and lasting seems to be slippery and elusive. People may think that they have found its source, and just as they begin to settle into that safe and secure feeling, something changes or someone reveals a true nature that is harmful or hurtful. So, edginess and agitation are more apt to be the way that we describe the experience of life today, for stress is a highly regular visitor in most of our modern homes. In this sort of environment, it is hard to be patient and to wait on the Lord’s timing in revealing important things like place and purpose in life or resolution to challenges that we are facing. It is more natural for us to give up and to lose hope for tomorrow to be better.

 

Yet, God operates in the realm of the eternal, and He offers something that is durable but might seem to be slow in its expression of results in the form of hope. The Lord’s engagement with each of us is not based upon actions and reactions in the moment. He does enter into each of those times with us, but He is patient, just, and long-suffering when it comes to our acceptance of His truth, wisdom, and guidance. For me, this is a good thing, for I am stubborn and not a very good listener when it comes to allowing the Spirit the operating room in my heart and mind to do God’s desired transformative work. I tend to hold on tight to the things that I think make me feel safe and comfortable and to struggle with letting go of the aspects of my life that the Lord is attempting to lead me away from. However, my wrestling with God inevitably leads to agitation, an unquiet spirit, and to a sense of unrest that seeks to be resolved.

 

That is where the Spirit comes to me in my state of disarray and speaks His words of calming truth. He guides my mind into entering God’s Word of eternal wisdom as He pours out the Father’s oil of grace and forgiveness upon my sin weary heart. This is the love that God has for each of His people. It is a love that never ceases to seek after what is best for us, and this is a love that brings us hope on days that seem beyond possibility, that grants us grace when we have wandered so far from God’s will that we can no longer see home, and that provides the safety and the provision that we need in order to rest and to recharge for tomorrow’s journey. The God of eternal comfort grants to each of us the shelter and the safe harbor that we so desperately need in this troubled world. He also leads us into service to His kingdom in ways that are satisfying and that grant to us the purpose that our hearts desire to know. The Lord is my great comforter, and He is the hope that makes tomorrow possible and that demonstrates eternity to me in my hours of need.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

The thermostat of our world seems as if it is broken, for there is very little comfort to be found in these environs today. One moment there is a chill wind blowing and that icy breeze is shredding its way through every layer of clothing that we can find to put on, and then, in an instant, it has switched over to being an inferno of wind and grating sand that is blowing at us from the heart of the Sahara or the Gobi. It is no wonder that it can be so hard to remain encouraged and heart-strong throughout the journey that God has set before each of us. We walk out into a place that has become alien and that is battered by a relentless wind of brokenness that came into the atmosphere when people departed from God’s will for our lives. This is not the world that God created for His people to dwell within, but it is the one that we devised for ourselves.

 

Now we get to continue along our ways in this place as we are forced to survive and to aspire to thrive in the midst of all that is hard, harsh, and challenging. It is the condition of this world, in its physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects, that drives me toward Christ. He provides answer to life’s unfathomable questions, and it is my Lord alone who stands above this world’s most unconscionable acts of greed, violence, and oppression. Christ speaks grace, mercy, and love over and into all of this destruction and the terror that comes from inside of its engulfing cloud of hardship. In Christ I can journey into places where my natural self would never set foot. He provides the strength and the courage to take the risks that can lead to contact with those who our world has attempted to set aside and to bury under its drive for dominion and power. This contact, these relationships, is what Christ uses to make Himself known to the people of our world and to also grow each of us in our faith in Him and trust of His plan and purpose for our lives.

 

So, in Christ we can find the sort of comfort that does not lead to complacency and to self-satisfaction. Through Christ and by the leading of His Spirit people are lifted out of the relentless search for safety, security, and ease that is our natural condition, and we are taken into the world around us with an adventurer’s heart for the daily quest. As we follow Christ into living out His Gospel and delivering its saving truth to the world around us, comfort is redefined so that it is no longer established through control of the air around us; instead, comfort is experienced by virtue of the peace that we know in our hearts and the confidence that our minds receive from the Lord’s eternal word of truth. In Christ, I am transformed from being a person who seeks after comfort as an external aspiration into one who desires to serve my Lord with all that I am. This happens as He implants His eternal presence, word, and purpose into my heart and mind.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loves us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

There are days when pain surrounds the heart. The losses that this world forces on us rub us raw, and any outer layer of protection that we might have nurtured and developed to surround that sensitive organ is removed, often in an instant. We are left speechless, breathless, and with nothing to hold onto or to bite into in order to relieve the aching in our heart. This is the unrelenting reality of life, and everyone faces it. No one escapes the circle of pain that loss draws tight and tighter around us. Yet, this is the place where God is also most present. This is the very place where Christ entered into our world at its most impassioned and painful peak.

 

Christ engaged the greatest form of earthly loss, which is death, directly, totally, and absolutely. He granted to people the Father’s assurance of life that extends through all of eternity and that eclipses anything that this earthly existence promises. In Christ, life is something that begins here and now, but it finds its full freedom and greatest expression in the glory to come as we dwell in the presence of God. However, we still live in this world, and we are faced with the challenges that come with the life that we have in the here and the now.

 

So God grants us certain assurances. He has defeated the ability of death to rule over us. Everyone who knows Christ is alive both in this world and especially after being freed from it. When we are assaulted by the grief and the suffering of loss, God is with us. His presence is real, tangible, and unending. He sits in vigil with us through all of the long hours of that night of sorrow. God pours out His love and His mercy on our wounded hearts. Then He leads us into worship; that is into personal and public sharing of the truth of His presence. Words that speak about our faith and of God’s working in our lives bring healing to the heart of the speaker and to those of the hearers. Christ also leads us into acts of care and expressions of love, for these good works serve to bring Christ’s body together in a manner that provides mutual protection and opportunity for healing for our wounded hearts.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

There are times when the most productive thing that I can do seems to be nothing. These are moments when my busy, racing mind needs to stop its churning and when my straining heart requires a little down time, too. This is a bit like that point in a home improvement project when the battery on my cordless drill runs out of electrical charge, and I need to go put it into the charger for a while before I can continue to use it. The loss of this essential tool forces me to stop, look at what I am doing, and consider what my next steps should be. The down time from the activity also seems to open my thinking to what will be the best approach to the rest of the project.

 

Of far greater importance is the time that I take to reflect on God and on what He has done and will do in me and through my life. Some of these stop and reflect times need to be long periods of prayer and meditation; yet, sometimes they are just a pause to speak to Him about the immediate need and to listening to God’s response in the middle of it all. The Lord delights in the time that we take to engage Him in conversation, He is always available, and there is nothing that the Spirit of Christ does not want to be involved in, either.

 

God brings us the encouragement of His love, He assures us of our place in His heart and in His house, and the Lord also comforts our fears and our concerns about the direction that we are to go in this life. He brings clarity and focus to our minds, and He provides the solid basis that we need to live courageously. As we look on the face of God, as we consider His love for us, and as our hearts are encouraged by Him; we should also begin to see the new being that we have become through Jesus. It is as this new person, in Christ, that our heart is made strong and our purpose made clear.

 

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loves us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

There are days when pain surrounds the heart. The losses that this world forces on us rub us raw, and any outer layer of protection that we might have nurtured and developed to surround that sensitive organ is removed, often in an instant. We are left speechless, breathless, and with nothing to hold onto or to bite into in order to relieve the aching in our heart. This is the unrelenting reality of life, and everyone faces it. No one escapes the circle of pain that loss draws tight and tighter around us. Yet, this is the place where God is also most present. This is the very place where Christ entered into our world at its most impassioned and painful peak.

 

Christ engaged the greatest form of earthly loss, which is death, directly, totally, and absolutely. He granted to people the Father’s assurance of life that extends through all of eternity and that eclipses anything that this earthly existence promises. In Christ, life is something that begins here and now, but it finds its full freedom and greatest expression in the glory to come as we dwell in the presence of God. However, we still live in this world, and we are faced with the challenges that come with the life that we have in the here and the now.

 

So God grants us certain assurances. He has defeated the ability of death to rule over us. Everyone who knows Christ is alive both in this world and especially after being freed from it. When we are assaulted by the grief and the suffering of loss, God is with us. His presence is real, tangible, and unending. He sits in vigil with us through all of the long hours of that night of sorrow. God pours out His love and His mercy on our wounded hearts. Then He leads us into worship; that is into personal and public sharing of the truth of His presence. Words that speak about our faith and of God’s working in our lives bring healing to the heart of the speaker and to those of the hearers. Christ also leads us into acts of care and expressions of love, for these good works serve to bring Christ’s body together in a manner that provides mutual protection and opportunity for healing for our wounded hearts.