Posts Tagged ‘strenth’

When anything overflows, the implication is that there is more than enough. Although I can speak at great length about my pains and our troubles, I rarely discourse on the overwhelming comfort I’ve received. Why is that?

II Corinthians 1:3b-5
. . . the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

What travels faster, good news or bad news? There’s nothing like a juicy story at someone else’s expense. Or, it might be a tragedy that is played and replayed on the television. So often, even in sports, it’s the mistakes or the “cheating” that gets the most press. During these weeks the 2010 World Cup is big news and yet, the biggest news seems to be the bad referee calls, faked injuries, and intentional errors.

During the course of a day, don’t we tend to remember the person who was unpleasant and rude more than the polite or sympathetic one? Somehow, the gentle hand never seems to be enough.

Pain has a reputation of being stronger than comfort. Sorrow lays across our heart like a heavy blanket. Disappointment can be a wound that will not heal. Betrayal is the repeated slashes of a knife.

I remember one horrible emotional breakdown I had some time ago. I don’t really remember the source of my cataclysm, but it definitely took me over the edge. I was in full tilt: shouting, crying, and door slamming. My daughter tried to come into my room to “comfort” me and I sent her away. What was I really saying when I rejected her, “You are not able to comfort me!” or “I don’t want to be comforted; I want to feel like this a little longer because I deserve it!”

Despite saying we don’t like to swim in misery, I think we do it more than we care to admit. In fact, swimming in misery can become the norm. Swimming in comfort means feeling better, even good, despite our circumstances.

For comfort to work, it has to be accepted.

Here are some other words for “comforter” in the New Testament: Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby [Amplified]. The comforter is the Holy Spirit and, as we all know and the Holy Spirit is within. True comfort comes from within: the voice of counsel, the voice of solution, the voice of encouragement, the voice of support, the voice of strength, and the voice in the background.

The Comforter has my back . . . if I let that one do his/her job. The comforter picks me up when I fall.

But the Comforter, like Jesus, is polite. Comfort cannot be pressed upon a person. One can always send comfort away.

I am reminded of Matthew 20:32, “Jesus stopped and called them [two blind men]. ‘What do you want me to do for you?'”

The Comforter does not presume. It is sometimes up to me to figure out exactly what is the true problem, what is the issue, what is causing me to feel so much pain, anxiety, fear, etc. This is the first step toward comfort. The second step toward comfort is breath.

That may sound simplistic, but taking a deep breath will often start the healing particularly if it is the breath of God.

My prayer: Open my mind and heart and soul to your Comfort, to your breath, to your spirit. Forgive me for shutting out the Comforter. Forgive me for shutting out the people who come to me in the name of Comfort.

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No matter what we do, we are admonished to do it all in love. It is unfortunate that the “love” message has gotten so watered down by our current culture. That’s so simplistic, we might think. It’s so 60’s. It’s so “new age.” We miss the power.

I Corinthians 16:13-14
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

The more I study, the more sure I am that love is the bottom line. If there was love in our words and actions, so much would come out differently.

Intending to love and actually loving are different. The first one doesn’t really count.

I keep reminding myself that love is about “other.” Love is not just a soft feeling. As the saying goes, “love is a verb.” It might only take a moment to ask myself the question, how are my words and actions speaking and demonstrating love? Is it in my voice quality? Is it in my facial expression. Is it in my touch? Is in my choice of words? Is it in my heart?

Is love in my work?

In verse 16:13, Paul has a string of encouragements about strength and courage. Isn’t it interesting that these would be partnered with doing everything in love? Apparently, these qualities are part of the love quotient.

To love in the face of “no love” is far more difficult than any other human act.

Will I stand for love today? Will I be strong? Will I have courage to love? And harder still, can I love without payback? Like everyone else, I want to be loved too. I want to be cared for and appreciated and nurtured. I want to be complimented and admired. I want to be known.

But we’re back to paradox. I’m sure of it. To be loved, I must love…. in everything. So simple.

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