TO ALL of those yearning for solace, the Bible has words of comfort. Little wonder, then, that The World Book Encyclopedia says that “countless people have turned to the Bible for comfort, hope, and guidance during times of trouble and uncertainty.” Why?
Because the Bible is inspired by our loving Creator, “the God of all comfort,” the One “who comforts us in all our tribulation.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) He is ‘the God who supplies comfort.’ (Romans 15:5) God has set the example in providing a means of relief for all of us. He sent his only-begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to the earth to give us hope and consolation.
Jesus taught: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The Bible describes God as the one “who daily carries the load for us, the true God of our salvation.” (Psalm 68:19) God-fearing humans can confidently say: “I have placed the Lord in front of me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter.”—Psalm 16:8.
Such Bible passages show the deep love that God has for us humans. It becomes clear that he has the heartfelt desire—as well as the ability—to provide abundant comfort and to ease our pain in times of distress. “He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.” (Isaiah 40:29) How, then, can we take comfort in God’s strength?
The Soothing Effect of God’s Care
The psalmist wrote: “Throw your burden upon God himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.” (Psalm 55:22) Yes, God has an interest in the human family. The apostle Peter reassured first-century Christians: “He [God] cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Jesus Christ stressed the value that God places on humans by saying: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God.
But even the hairs of your heads are all numbered. Have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6, 7) We are of such worth to God that he takes note of even the minutest detail about us. He knows things that we ourselves do not know because he is deeply interested in each of us.
Sensing this personal interest of God proved very comforting to Svetlana, a young prostitute. She was about to commit suicide when she came in contact with Christians. Then she accepted a Bible study, which helped her to become acquainted with God as a real person who is interested in her welfare. This touched her heart, motivating her to change her way of life and to dedicate herself to God.
It also gave Svetlana the necessary measure of self-worth that she needed to press on despite her problems and to get a positive outlook on life. “I am convinced,” she now says, “that God will never leave me. I have found that what is written at 1 Peter 5:7 is true. It says: ‘Throw all your anxiety upon [God], because he cares for you.’”
Bible-Based Hope Comforts
A particular way in which God provides comfort is through his written Word, which contains a marvelous hope for the future. The apostle Paul wrote: “All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
Paul made clear the link between true hope and comfort when he wrote: “May . . . God our Father, who loved us and gave everlasting comfort and good hope by means of undeserved kindness, comfort your hearts and make you firm in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17) This “good hope” includes the prospect of perfect, happy, and unending life in heaven.—2 Peter 3:13.
Such a sure and bright hope inspirited Laimonis, an alcoholic paralytic. Reading the Bible, he rejoiced to learn about the new world under God’s Kingdom, where his health could be completely restored. In the Bible, he read the following bright promise of miraculous healing: “At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped.
At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.” (Isaiah 35:5, 6) In order to qualify for life in heaven, Laimonis made great changes. He turned from liquor, and his transformation has not gone unnoticed by his neighbors and acquaintances. He now conducts several Bible studies, sharing with others the comfort that Bible-based hope gives.
The Role of Prayer
When our heart is in pain for some reason, we can find comfort by praying to God. That can take the load off us. During our supplications, we may be comforted by recalling things said in God’s Word. The longest psalm in the Bible is like a beautiful prayer. Its composer sang: “I have remembered your judicial decisions from time indefinite, O Lord, and I find comfort for myself.” (Psalm 119:52)
In extremely difficult situations, especially ones that involve a health crisis, there often is no single, all-encompassing answer. In our own strength, we may not know exactly where to turn. Many have found that when all that is humanly possible was done, turning to God in prayer resulted in great comfort and, at times, in unforeseen solutions.—1 Corinthians 10:13.
Pat, who was rushed to a hospital emergency room, experienced this comforting effect of prayer. After she recuperated, she said: “I prayed to God and really learned that I had to leave my life in his hands, trusting him to do whatever was his will. During all this time, I felt calm; I was experiencing the peace of God mentioned at Philippians 4:6, 7.”
How comforting these verses can be to all of us! There Paul admonishes us: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit as Comforter
On the night before his death, Jesus made it clear to his apostles that he would soon be leaving them. This troubled and grieved them. (John 13:33, 36; 14:27-31) Recognizing their need for continued comfort, Jesus promised: “I will request the Father and he will give you another helper [or, comforter] to be with you forever.” (John 14:16) Jesus here was referring to God’s holy spirit. Among other things, God’s spirit comforted the apostles during their trials and strengthened them to continue doing God’s will.—Acts 4:31.
Angie, whose husband came close to death after a serious accident, was able to cope successfully with all the distress and pain of her situation. What helped her? She says: “Without the support of God’s holy spirit, we could not have gone through what we have experienced and remained strong. God’s strength has indeed been made manifest through our weaknesses, and he has proved to be a fortress in our time of distress.”
A Comforting Brotherhood
Whatever an individual’s situation in life may be, no matter what painful circumstances may develop, he should be able to find comfort in the brotherhood existing within God’s people. This brotherhood provides spiritual support and assistance for those associated with it. Therein, one can find a group of loving, concerned, and comforting friends, who are ready and willing to help and console others in times of distress.—2 Corinthians 7:5-7.
Members of the Christian church are taught to “work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to [them] in the faith.” (Galatians 6:10) The Bible-based education they receive moves them to manifest brotherly love and tender affection for one another. (Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 3:8) Spiritual brothers and sisters in the church are moved to be kind, comforting, and tenderly compassionate.—Ephesians 4:32.
When the gusting winds of adversity begin to howl, and the merciless rain and hail of distress keep pounding, God is ready to provide consoling protection. This is how one of the psalms describes him as providing comforting shelter: “With his pinions he will block approach to you, and under his wings you will take refuge.” (Psalm 91:4) The image here may be that of an eagle. It is a picture of a bird that senses danger and then protectively spreads its wings over its young. In an even greater sense, God becomes a true Protector for all who find refuge in him.—Psalm 7:1.
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