Each one of us has a great need to be comforted, whether we are aware of this foundational need or not. We can see this at work especially in the hearts of little children who are unapologetic about their need for comfort. When they get hurt or are disappointed, immediately they seek an understanding shoulder to cry on. Dads may do, but it seems that the best comfort comes from moms!
I can remember when our children were little and they would scrape their knees while playing outside, they would run into the house right past me all the while looking for their mom. And as soon as they caught their mother's glance, they would burst into tears and run into her consoling arms. I think they avoided me at times because they knew that there was a better chance of receiving the comfort they were looking for from their mother rather than from me.
I don’t think that should come as any surprise to us that moms often express comfort better than dads. After all, comforting seems to be more of a feminine expression of love than a masculine one. I get to see this first hand these days in watching our oldest daughter Kristin, care for her babies.
I have been amazed to see how loving and patient, and gentle and comforting she is when her little girls are upset. It is truly a beautiful thing to behold to see her comforting love in action as both our granddaughters soak up all the love their mom can give them.
As we get older, we tend to have a more 'grown up' attitude towards comfort and try to manage life all on our own. Some of us were even told to 'suck it up', 'grow up' or 'stop crying', when we were little kids. Often the end result of this kind of parenting causes little children to grow into adults with no idea of how or where to seek comfort. Bottling up pain does not make the pain go away. It just buries it under the surface where it can fester for years.
An orphan mindset believes that they have no one to comfort them so they have to comfort themselves. Since we were all created to receive comfort, we will inevitably seek it out somewhere. For some it might be food, for others it might be sports, others careers, others religious striving, sexual & chemical addictions, or entertainment.
Most of us don't even know that the underpinning of our actions are based on the need to be comforted. However, if we understand that we were all created in the image of God who in 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 called 'The Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort", we will realize that we need comfort too.
Whether we are 2 years of age or 82, we all need to be comforted. That is simply how God made us to be. Many people believe that being honest and vulnerable is simply not a good thing. The orphan world system tells us that independence, self-sufficiency and a lack of transparency is the way to live our lives… especially for men. While this may sound like a very ‘strong’ way to live, it is also a very lonely way to live as well.
In His last address to His disciples, Jesus made a very profound promise in John 14:18. He says to His disciples (and to us) the following... "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (ESV) The KJV Bible translates this verse... I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (KJV)
Two verses later in John 14:16, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit so that we would never again feel comfortless… And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (KJV)
The promise that Jesus made to send the Comforter was fulfilled when He rose from the grave. Now, we have the ultimate Comforter living inside of us. However, if we don’t open up our hearts to receive His loving comfort, we will likely seek comfort from illegitimate sources. And if we close ourselves to the comforting love that God wants to comfort us with, we will be unable to comfort others in the way that we received it first. So how do we open our hearts to receive comfort? …Just like a little child would!
My prayer is that we would all know that we have the same foundational need for comfort today that we had when we were little children. Even when we get old and grey (Isaiah 46:3-4), the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort is ready, willing and able to comfort us with both a father’s love and a mother’s love.
Whether we fall down and scrape our knee in the playground, or when we are facing some pretty scary challenges in our adult life, we all need to be comforted. So in light of that truth, may each one of us be drawn to the loving bosom of our Heavenly Father right here and right now. So that we can receive His comfort, and in turn, comfort others with the same comfort that we have received from God.
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (NIV)