Comfort! Some that is given doesn’t help at all! Empty words! Trite clichés! Sorry (but perhaps sincere) attempts at putting salve on deep emotional wounds… Some of it doesn’t help at all – ask the people who are going through the sorrow, pain and loss.
So what does the Bible have to say about comfort that helps – consolation that matters?
Here’s what Apostle Paul had to say after He had just come through a terrible experience that might labeled “clinical depression.” It was so bad he despaired of life! In fact, he thought he was going to die! (Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-9) Looking back on that experience here is what Paul had to say…
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too… Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. [The experience I went through taught me] to rely, not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (From 2 Corinthians 1:3-11)
So here are a few observations from that passage about comfort that matters…
First of all, it comes from God! Comfort that matters ultimately comes from “The Father of mercies and God of all comfort”
It also can be facilitated through caring people who have experienced the pain of sorrow and the comfort that God provides! We experience God’s comfort in order to share it (and not always with words – often with our confident, caring, empathetic presence). If you’ve been through the pain of loss, and endured it with God’s help, you need to know that you can be a reassuring, faith-filled presence to someone who is experiencing loss.
There is also another benefit of real comfort – the comfort God gives: As painful as the sorrow is, it helps us learn to rely, not on our own resources, but on the wonderful, supernatural, sustaining resources that God provides.
And finally, comfort that really matters also comes in answer to the prayer support that others provide in times of sorrow.