A China Story: The God of All Comfort

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All too often, we read with our minds and not our hearts. Both is recommended. It is all too easy to skim past the most astounding, remarkable truths. I am convinced that the majority of Christians do not really believe what the Holy Scriptures say. A vast number of problems would go away if we simply believed what God reveals to us in the word. Skepticism in the human heart, especially for the Christian, is the great thief of our day.

Don’t you wish you could wake up one day and read the New Testament for the “first” time? What do I mean? Well, I sometimes wish I could spend one day as an unbeliever. What would I think about Jesus? What would my impression be of the church? How would religion in general appear? Or to wake up one morning with a blank slate, an empty canvas, and read the Gospels for the first time. What would I see or hear or discover that I run past now? I’m afraid I have been a Christian for far too long (I’m partly joking).

Here is one of those Scriptures that is loaded, absolutely dripping with relevance and power that I fear we read much to fast:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
[3] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

How remarkable that the God of the Universe, the One who has worlds to attend to, is willing to come down and help us. At 24, I co-led a mission trip to China where we met up with a long-term missionary. It took over a week of traveling to finally reach the land of the Tajiks, a small people group in far west China. After several flights, we found ourselves on a 24 hour train ride across the desert (there was still more traveling to be done). On the train, each room consisted of four bunk beds. The long-term missionary, myself, and two strangers were in my room. All of us began to talk and before long, the long term missionary was talking to these two men about Jesus Christ. The two strangers knew each other. When the missionary stopped talking, one man looked confused. In their own language, one man began to explain the message of Jesus to his friend. Neither were Christians. When I asked the long-term missionary what he was saying, she replied, “He is telling his friend that Jesus is different than all of the other gods, that Jesus is the only God that came down to earth. He comes down to put his arm around you and help you through life.” OMG. These were the words of an unbeliever explaining Jesus and Christianity to another unbeliever. Do I, do you, explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ with such love and compassion? Yes, there is sin. Yes, there is Hell. But sometimes, we enjoy talking about these things a little too much. Paint a true picture of who God is and people, more often than not, will fling open their heart to Him. People are looking for hope. Why wouldn’t they? The darker it gets, the more attractive light becomes.

“Jesus is the God who comes down here, puts his arm around you, and helps you.” Do you believe this? Do not answer with words. Be honest. Look at the way you live your life. If an alien were observing you over the course of a year, would they say of you (and I) that you love, worship, believe in, and follow a comforting God? Do you allow Him to be a God of Comfort in your life? Do you let His comfort touch others through you?

Daddy God really can do a good job comforting our hearts. He gently lifts up our head (Psalms 3:3). He is not just the Lion, but also the Lamb. I long for Christians to turn to God FIRST for comfort. A thousand ills would be cured if we did so.

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