[Column] God’s Comfort is Strength

Trial and discouragement are universal problems in all ages and all people. No one is free from these predicaments. Strangely enough, trials and discouragement are experienced more strongly by those who appear successful than those who failed because a fall from a higher position results in a greater shock. That is the pain of “hitting rock bottom.” Even St Paul, a great apostle of Our Lord, experienced trial and discouragement even to the point of almost losing his life. “How can we overcome trial and discouragement?” is an eternal quest in life. The Bible tells us that God is the God of comfort: “Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). People commonly refer to this chapter as the chapter of comfort because from verses 3 to 12 the most frequently occurring word is “comfort.” It appears 10 times. On a side note, what may be considered the antonyms of “comfort” (e.g. trouble, suffering, afflict, etc) appears 9 times. Concerning these verses, some commentators say, “They mean fall down nine times and get up ten” or “ Victory will prevail in the end if God’s comfort and power manifest ten times after falling down with suffering nine times.” What a wonderful interpretation this is.

What is comfort? It is entirely different from sympathy. Sympathy is an act of generating consolation for the troubled and the suffering. In contrast, comfort has strength within it. A comforter is a person who can help those in distress with his own strength. The word ‘comfort’ consists of the prefix “com” meaning “with” and “fort” meaning “strength.”  It means “to be with strength” or in other words “to have strength.”  In the original Greek, it means “to go nest to and assist.” In the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit is given another title as a “comforter.” In other words, the Holy Spirit is He who with mighty strength comforts and aids us.

Who is God whom we believe and depend on? He is not just someone who merely sympathizes with us but helps us with His strength. Who is most helpful to you when you are stricken with disease? It is he who can practically bring about healing. If you are drowning, who is most helpful to you? It is he who can swim and save you. He who renders assistance has visible strength. Since God possesses the most practical and absolute power, He gives you the most practical and absolute help. Therefore we must at all times seek and pray to Him. Many problems await us while living here on earth. The best solution to problems is achieved by seeking assistance from those who can solve problems. If your computer malfunctions, you can take it to a person who understands and fixes computer for repair. If there is car trouble, you seek an automobile technician. That is simple wisdom. Remember that God is your comforter. Your trials and discouragement can only be overcome when you come before Almighty God.

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