God and His Monopoly
The God of ALL Comfort (2 Cor 1:3)
God not only has a monopoly on all grace and all flesh, but He monopolized the market as well on comfort. The only place to find real comfort is in Him. It is not in your bank statement or retirement account; it cannot be found in listening to the news or in checking the latest predictions of re-openings. Comfort may be received from a spouse or from the fellowship, however limited, or other believers via Zoom or similar platforms. They are the penultimate sources. But genuine comfort is ultimately from the Lord. Paul explained in this passage that God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
Someone, however, is probably thinking, “This God of all comfort is making us very uncomfortable for the last 7 weeks or more.” It may seem like a paradox, but the God of all comfort does, at times, disturb our comfort levels. We have not only been made uncomfortable, but the inconvenience and change to our lives have also been egregious to us all.
If you are on your own, without the God of ALL comfort, your reaction might be similar to this author: “We find ourselves condemned to the frightening task of merely existing. We live with the vertiginous proximity of a sterile reclusion and a voracious death that every day devours more victims. We oscillate between being carefree and panicking, feeling guilty for being healthy, and at home while around us the sick are succumbing as the reaper does his grim work. Each of our days is a colossal encyclopedia of nothingness, with the certainty that taking a shower, making a meal, getting some exercise, moving our armchair, or calling some friends to reassure them will constitute the only significant events.” Quite a mouthful!
There is a picture in the Old Testament which might help us in this regard. “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings …” (Deut 32:11). The picture is an eagle who is forcing the young eaglets from the nest to spread their wings and learn to fly. But the wonderful assurance is that she will bear them or catch them on her wings when they need the support.
Most of us have been forced from our normal routine of life. From unemployment and a recognition of how quickly material prosperity can evaporate, to a recognition of the frailty of life, to the absence of in- person Christian fellowship, our little worlds have been rocked. We feel as though we have been forcibly ejected from the nest and keep waiting for the wings to catch us and bear us back to the nest.
We look for comforts; we have tried “on-line church,” and although helpful, most of us would rank it as a poor second choice. Something tells us that perhaps this is a way in which God can speak to souls about eternal issues, yet we find ourselves having to keep six feet away and not have personal close interaction with others and, of course, no gospel meetings. We wonder what “wings” we are supposed to grow and where we are “to fly.” We are looking for the comforts we are supposed to find. The Psalmist could say, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul” (Ps 94:19).
It may be that we are looking in the wrong place for comfort from God. Most of us are looking for circumstances to change. We are each waiting for the governor of our state or the premier of our province to issue a “re-opening” plan. We are watching for the economy to rebound and for jobs to reopen. As helpful as all this might be, our comfort does not lie in circumstances, masks, gloves, PPE, social distancing, or even in the future vaccine. All those are wonderful and looked-for in time, but it is, like the Psalmist said, our thoughts of God which will comfort. He is still in control. He is the same from eternity past: full of compassion, merciful, gracious, good (Ex 34:6, 7). We have the assurance that “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber” (Ps 121:3). He knows how frail we are and will test us to our limits, but never beyond.
So, keep listening for the re-opening announcements, keep waiting for your relief check to arrive (don’t spend it all at once), but allow the thoughts of Who God is to be your great and ultimate comfort.