Comfort and Purpose

“All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us.”

2 Corinthians 1: 3

Some years ago I read the word ‘comfort’ derives from a Latin word that means ‘to strengthen’. Until then, I generally thought of comfort as consolation, rather in the way of patting someone on the hand in a sympathetic manner. Yet it was learning the word also indicates strengthening which gave me a better understanding of what this verse above means.

Life has so many moments when we need strength--illness, financial setbacks, relationship issues or the surprise of the telephone call that brings a blow of bad news on a day when life looks pretty good. Our perception of these times affects whether we see them as disasters …..or opportunities.

My goodness, that sounds trite--like some television infomercial guru selling his latest book on positive thinking. Yet the reality is that each storm of life represents an opportunity for character growth and faith development. Having said that, while in the midst of these storms it can be difficult to care much about either one!

However, it’s vital during times of stress to be able to see purpose in our circumstances. Any person ‘rightly related’ to God (ie: one who has repented from sin and turned his or her life Godward through the salvation of Jesus Christ) can weather any storm with the sure knowledge that all things are working together for good according to the purposes of God. In fact, that reference from Romans 8:28 is a principle by which each us have sure comfort or strength no matter what situation may arise in life.

Think about it for a minute.

“For we know that all things work together for good for those who are the called according to His purpose…”

A Christian is one of those who are ‘called’. So with that in mind we then know that ALL things that occur work together for our good. Even the bad stuff.

Knowing there is purpose drastically changes how we perceive that bad stuff.

Knowing there is purpose is itself a great comfort.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, 
for we know that they are good for us--
they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops 
strength of character is us, and character strengthens
 our confident expectation of salvation. 
And this expectation will not disappoint us. 
For we know how dearly God loves us, 
because He has given us the Holy Spirit 
to fill our hearts with His love.”
Romans 5: 3-5