Comfort or Closeness?
I’ve noticed that it is easy for me to seek Jesus simply for His will in my life or to ask Him to ease my pain. My relationship with God has become very me focused. But being self-centered in my relationship with God is not going to help me to grow. Because then Jesus simply becomes a tool to ease my pain rather than allowing Him to be the comforter. “Blessed be the God of 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” 2 Cor. 3:3-4. If you only talked to your grandparents if you wanted money, or spoke to your spouse when you wanted dinner made, the relationship would be strained. Actually, the relationship would lack fruit and fulfillment. The same is true with our walk with God. I am to draw nearer to Him simply because He is God alone. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” James 4:7-10. God is God alone. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Rev 1:8). God is under no pretense whatsoever to answer my requests for comfort. I ask God for many little things (ease from aches, strength for the day…etc) and many times God does give me strength or He does ease an ache. And what’s worse is I forget to say thank you. Which is a definite indicator that I am seeking Jesus simply for comfort rather than a close relationship with Him. When I am close to God He will comfort me through His presence but not necessarily the absence of pain.
Last fall was a difficult season for me. I literally couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t write and I wanted to quit. God did not remove the pain or the struggle. Because then patience wouldn’t have had it’s perfect work. (James 1:4) I cannot learn and mature in my walk with Jesus if He instantly grants my wishes and microwaverly heals every ache. If you microwave food you get packaged tasting sort of food. But when you take time to cook a full meal from scratch, it tastes so much better and richer. The same is true with us. It is so hard to be patience through the trials, the waiting, and the uncertainty. But God is chipping away at the rough edges and refining me for His glory. During the difficult season Jesus didn’t simply take my hand, He carried me, my bleeding heart and all. All I had to do was cling to Him. You see, if we allow it, the pain can draw us closer to Jesus and allow us to become dependent on Him.
So, dear friend I don’t know what ache brims up your heart’s cup tonight. But draw closer to Jesus. Spend time alone with Him. And don’t forget to thank Him for what He has already accomplished in your life. Maybe your life seems foggy and you wonder what has God done? Think of something small. Think of something that God did for you in the past. The same God that stood with you and carried you that trial will be with you again. He may not take away the pain but He will be with you. You may feel very weak, broken, hurting, or just plain exhausted. Lean on Him. Use this season of hurt to be dependent on Him. While He may not take away all the pain, His closeness is sometimes the greatest comfort.