Whenever I spend time reminiscing about my childhood, I find that my most vivid memories correspond to the times when I felt the most joy or the most pain (and sometimes they come together). During those times of pain, the struggles and hurt were often pacified by the comfort my mother was able to provide. Yes, flipping my bike over handle bars first in my neighbor’s driveway was traumatic, but being held by my mom afterwards and being bandaged up by her transformed that situation from something terrible to something which taught me a great lesson about the stupidity of seeing how quickly I could brake.
Isaiah tells us that “as a mother comforts her child, so will I [God] comfort you.” Upon first hearing this verse, it can be easy to assume, as I did, that if God is comforting us then nothing is wrong. But, if that is our perspective going into life, then we are setting ourselves up for failure, disappointment and loss of faith. If we go into life thinking that God will take away all the painful situations, it will be dangerously easy for us to conclude that God does not exist or that he does not truly care for us. We will never be able to escape the hardships of life.
If we return to my earlier musings about being comforted in my childhood, I think it provides great insight into how God can be comforting us in spite of the terrors we might be facing. When I foolishly crashed my bike, the comfort my mom provided did not erase my actions or the event. This is true of all my memories of being comforted. The pain was never eliminated, but the comfort I felt provided me with the love and support I needed to endure what had happened. This is also how God works in our lives: he cannot go around eliminating everything that causes everyone discomfort (in the end that would take away our free will…it was my choice to test the brakes on my bike), but he can be there to provide peace for us when trouble comes our way.
And now for a challenge: the next time you experience a difficult situation, instead of blaming God or claiming that he can’t possibly exist because of what is happening, allow him to comfort you. Remember in that moment that even though it is tough, God is still there waiting to comfort you. He can’t always take away the pain, but believe me when I tell you that he would if he could- every parent wishes they could take away the pain their child feels and shares in their child’s pain. Don’t rob yourself of his comfort and peace because you think that anger and resentment will make you feel better in the end. Sometimes, all we can do is run crying into his open arms and allow ourselves to be embraced by his peace.
May God be praised!
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Copyright 2013 Stephanie Gulya