In times of anguish and affliction, as I have previously written, God is the perfect source of comfort for his people. He is the one to come to in times when one’s heart seems to be breaking, and there is no heartache which is greater than his comfort. Here are the ways that he brings comfort to his people.
God first of all brings comfort to his people through the Holy Spirit. This has always been intended to be something that he brings to us regularly. It is not for nothing that Jesus called the Holy Spirit the ‘Comforter’! This title, as the Comforter like Jesus, indicates his ministry to the people of God, to guide and comfort them, and to do for them what Jesus would do if he were physically present. The believer in Jesus can therefore count on the Holy Spirit to do for him or her just what Jesus would do if he were physically standing beside him or her or walking alongside.
Next, God brings comfort to is people through his Word. His intention was not only to show his eternal will and purposes through his Word, but also to bring comfort to his people. The unknown Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:50, “My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life.” Even more, the apostle Paul stated that this was one of the primary purposes of the written Word of God: “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). God therefore intended his Word to bring healing and comfort through the scriptures to us, and the Bible should be the strong foundation of comfort when we need it most.
Even more God brings us comfort through answered prayer. Prayer does change things! God may not get us out of a sticky situation, through he may well answer prayer in changing circumstances for us. Otherwise, the believer can count on God to give us strength to endure through the hardships that may surround us. Prayer may not change the will of another person, but God will deal with the conscience of another person as we appeal to him in the situations which cause us anguish and grief.
Finally, God brings us comfort through other believers as well. God’s will is that believers should also be comforters to each other as well! Often, his way to bring us comfort will be to send someone to be the voice and hands of Jesus to us through the Holy Spirit., to share his Word and to pray with us. What each of us experiences affects every one else in the body of Christ. If one part suffers, every part suffers with is. So, ministering to the hurting fellow believer may help to lift up an entire fellowship of believers, and likewise, refusal to help may result in spiritual blessing being withheld.
All scripture references taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society and used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.