Advent Week 2: Comforter

I remember a day a while back where I was feeling pretty crappy. I was feeling discouraged, burdened, and alone in my struggle. What did I do? I watched TV. I scrolled through my social media feeds. I ate something that was probably unhealthy. And then I felt better, right?…Nope. I felt just as crappy afterwards! I felt empty, and the same burden was still on my shoulders.

Can you relate to my experience? Maybe you’ve also had a day, maybe even recently, where you turned to things like TV or food or social media affirmation for comfort. And you’re probably realizing now that it didn’t actually make you feel any better either!! Isn’t it funny how we convince ourselves that this is what we need to feel better, even though we almost never end up actually feeling filled up or at peace afterwards?

I recently listened to a podcast by Leslie Ludy where she talks about some of our go-to comforts, and the lies we buy into about personal happiness. She discussed things like feeling entitlement to “me time”, destructive comfort-seeking habits, and the lie that our self-image and self-worth issues will get better by focusing on loving self more.

I’ve learned from personal experience that, in reality, we hinder our ability to be comforted in a few different ways, including: by complaining instead of praising, by doubting God, by choosing not to claim His promises, and by turning to other things for comfort or “rescue”.

This got me thinking and reflecting lots. I was challenged with the question: Where do I turn for comfort? I’d love to invite you dive deeper into some of these thoughts with me now. With Christmas approaching, I especially want to look at this topic in light of the fact that Jesus came to earth. Because the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, we have a Saviour who understands our every weakness and is the Perfect Comforter.

I’d like to share with you today five promises that can daily serve as our comfort in Christ:

1. He Is Strength In My Weakness

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”” 2 Corinthians 12:9
*See more scripture references such as Isaiah 40:29, Psalm 119:28, Isaiah 40:29-31, Nehemiah 8:10, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 31:24, Isaiah 41:10, Joel 3:10*

We’re literally told in scripture that God’s strength is magnified in our weakness!! God wants to present His glory in and through us. My weakness is the stage on which God plays out His glory. If I’m strong and in need of nothing, I’ll never know my need for God or the extent of His strength.

I’ve experienced this over and over again. I’m often tempted to wallow in my weakness. Like I shared at the beginning, it can feel in the moment like the most beneficial thing to do when I’m feeling down and discouraged is to self-comfort. Do something that will allow me to “turn my brain off” or “unplug”. But it’s so clear in scripture that our BEST option is always to turn to Jesus for comfort. He doesn’t want you and I to stay stuck in weakness. He DOES want us to recognize our weakness and then allow it to act as a platform for His glory. I’ll share more on this in a later point, so stick with me!

2.  He Understands

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us in the form of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). THIS. This right here is the reason I can even write this post about Jesus being our perfect Comforter. If He hadn’t come to this earth, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate this attribute of Jesus. I’ll share five quick examples of how Jesus can comfort you because He’s gone through the same thing. Sometimes we forget that while Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man. He felt and experienced things the way we do and we have this promise that we serve a high priest who understands.

  • He understands weakness. He grew tired (John 4:6), He needed time to fill up (Luke 5:15-16), He experienced thirst (John 19:28), hunger (Matthew 4:2), physical weakness (Matthew 4:11, Luke 23:26). He walked this earth with a physical body and He understood the same physical struggles. Whether you are having trouble putting three meals per day on the table, feeling worn down and exhausted, or physically weak, Jesus understands.
  • He understands temptation. In Matthew 4 we read the well-known example of how Jesus was led into the wilderness and tempted by the devil. He was tempted with seeking his comfort and fulfillment in something other than God. He was tempted with idolizing or worshipping something above God. He was tempted to test God. He was tempted with wealth and possessions. When you look at these four areas of temptation alone you could go so much further into the many other temptations that we face that fall into these same categories. Jesus definitely understands temptation.
  • He understands pain. Isaiah 53 is a heart wrenching passage for me each time I read it. I don’t think there can be any questioning of the fact that Jesus experienced intense, agonizing pain on the cross on our behalf. I believe that He understands pain more deeply than we can ever imagine. He not only experienced the most physically excruciating pain, but He also simultaneously experienced the pain of being separated from His Father and having the weight of the world’s sin and pain on His shoulders. I believe there is no one more qualified to comfort us in our pain than Jesus Himself.
  • He understands sadness. John 12:27, Hebrews 5:7, and John 13:21 are a few of the places we read about Jesus’ deep sadness. We know that He even wept. He was not immune to feeling deep sadness as He walked this earth as a man. Whether you are grieving loss, hurting over pain inflicted on you by others, or feeling burdened by the hurts of others, Jesus understands your sadness and I believe He weeps along with you.
  • He understands loneliness. Jesus knows what it’s like to feel like no one understands or relates to you. He walked this earth sinless as everyone around Him sinned, doubted Him, and sometimes even resented Him. He was betrayed by people whom He loved (Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:66-72), and He even was forsaken by His own Father on the cross (Matthew 27:46). He understands loneliness.

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3. He Fills Me Up In Order To Pour Out

ANYTHING apart from Jesus that we turn to for comfort will never be able to fill us up. Like I shared at the beginning, we each have our own tendencies to turn to different things for comfort when we’re struggling for a season or even just having a bad day.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I am in need of nothing. He allows me to rest in green pastures. He leads me beside plentiful waters. He restores my soul…Your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies and anoint my head with oil. My cup is filled to overflowing.” Psalm 23:1-6

He will provide for every need you have. He will provide strength. He will provide comfort. He will provide new courage or equipping for whatever lies before you. But you can’t receive that filling up if you turn to other things. TV, friends, a romantic relationship, shopping, a glass of wine, social media, food…all of these things will leave you remaining on “empty”, not filled up.

You can read more in John 15 about how God promises that when we abide in Him, we will bear fruit and flourish. Apart from Him we’ll keep running on empty and keep trying to fill up in other destructive ways. Apart from Him we can do nothing.

4. He Redeems And Restores 

“And for those who grieve in Zion- he will bestow on them a crown of beauty in place of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, planted in the Lord for the display of His splendor and for the glory of God.” Isaiah 61:3

I LOVE love love this passage in Isaiah. God promises us that He will turn our ashes into something beautiful. Sometimes in this lifetime, sometimes in eternity.

When I go through a tough season or a bad week, He can use that time for teaching me, for developing my character, for sanctifying me more into the image of Jesus, and for strengthening my “spiritual muscles”. You can’t develop stronger physical muscles by always lifting a five pound dumbbell. However, if you start to bring heavier weights into your training routine, muscles will become stronger and more defined. It’s the same with our spiritual muscles. When we struggle under heavier weight, we develop further. Struggles produce perseverance and character.

We can find so much comfort in this promise that everything we go through right now is not just for a purpose, but it’s actually going to be turned into something beautiful.

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5. He Will Fight For Me

“The LORD your God himself will fight for you…” Deuteronomy 3:22

When we choose to turn to God and receive His comfort rather than comforts of this world, He will not leave us empty. He won’t leave us standing alone. He won’t let us walk away uncomforted. In addition to this, He walks alongside us as we continue into daily battle. He promises to fight for us as we trust and lean into Him. We don’t need to do this life alone.

He is strength in your weakness. He understands. He fills you up to pour back out again. He redeems and restores. He will fight for you.

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My prayer is that you feel deeply comforted and reassured of God’s faithfulness. Even more than that, I hope that you feel prompted to steal away some time with Jesus later this week to thank and praise Him for coming down to earth in the flesh for being the most perfect source of comfort that you’ll ever have! If you’ve been looking for comfort or filling up in other things, I’ll also be praying that this is a chance for you to retreat up the mountain with Jesus and find comfort in Him.

Be blessed this week my friend! 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. Really good stuff Jen! I just finished two months of mission work in the Himalayan Hill country of Nepal and India. We backpacked to remote villages to share Jesus and I was pushed to the limits physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I wanted to leave and come home, but I remembered that in my weakness, God’s strength will get me through. I meditated on this verse as I hiked through the mountains and His peace truly fell on me. We serve such a mighty and passionate God. Thanks for your post.

    Like

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