Sunday, December 21, 2014
More than a comforter
The Lord is our comforter. The prince of peace. He creates a tranquil calm in the midst of storms that transcends all our human understanding. Holy is He who casts out all fear and soothes our souls!
2 Cor 1:4, " [He] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
So, we find out someone is sick and we comfort them the way He has comforted us in the past. We hear about a struggle and we pray for His will to be done, that they would know the supernaturally perfect peace of the Savior. And we move on. Mission accomplished, right?
Maybe not. Maybe praying, hoping, even striving for comfort is a great intention but...maybe stopping there is among the deeply insulting ways we fall short in loving God. We must love Him and His people bravely and deeply, bolstered by the power of the Holy Spirit, who calls us to speak the truth, and be doers of the Word.
If you and your children were trapped in a car as it fell into a lake, would you want an onlooker to pray for your comfort? To call out "boldly", "Peace, my peace I leave you!" My heart aches just thinking of the cowardice that would display. The sad reality of how often that happens. Remember, when we do things for others, we are doing them for Him and through Him. God's is not a coward. Jesus was not a coward, the Holy Spirit is no coward. This is how He came: "And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them" (Acts 1:2-3). That is the same Holy Spirit who dwells within every baptized believer! Would someone who valued that Holy Spirit and His power watch the car plunge through the depths of a watery grave and begin to mourn before the car was fully submerged?
Of course not. So why do we learn bad news from men and immediately jump to platitudes and peace offerings? Do not misunderstand me. Peace is amazing, and it is the opposite of fear, which we should call on the Lord to quench at all costs. But, peace is just one of the limitless perfect blessings the Lord will bring to us. Not through manmade objects, positive thinking, or will power, but through true faith in Him. He tells us time and again to pray, pray, pray. "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working" (James 5:16). The parable of the persistent widow taught us to always pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8). "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7) Then do it again. And again. "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15).
The bolder the prayer, the more faith it takes to pray it. It's hard, sometimes impossible, to pray for impossible things. But if things were possible with men we wouldn't need to pray. We wouldn't need a hero...but we do need one, and we have Him! He came, freely, to save us, it's already been done! The blessings that come from Him answering impossible, faith-filled prayers are so much greater than whatever He did to answer it. It is for His glory, and not for our own. So no man can boast, we pray and seek this Mighty God who does so much more than comfort us. He heals, loves, empowers, gives, and takes away. Let's treat Him and His people like they are worth the risk of acting boldly and expecting mighty results!