Where’s The Comfort?
by Ken Gardner

We often speak of the comfort we receive as Christians. We have all been comforted in times of trouble and distress, by encouragement and reassurances from our brothers and sisters, by prayer, by Bible study and meditation, and by wor-ship. And certainly the Bible itself teaches us that we should seek and expect comfort from all these sources. Consider the following passages:

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and deliv-ered me from all my fears” (Psa. 34:4, ESV)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psa. 34:19, ESV).
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1, NIV).
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psa. 55:22, NIV).
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28, KJV).
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1, KJV).
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28, ESV).
“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 com-forted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4, ESV).

These and many other passages remind us that God loves us, that He will protect us from burdens we simply cannot bear, that there are benefits that come from adversity, that all people suffer, that heaven awaits those who endure, and so forth.

Would that it were that simple. Would that we could just open our Bibles and read a few chap-ters, that we could go to church, that we could phone a brother or sister, that we could say a little prayer, and all our troubles would simply vanish. But it doesn’t work that way. True, we are indeed often greatly comforted by prayer, Bible study, worship, and encouragement from brethren, and occasionally our problems even disappear, but sometimes nothing seems to help. The hurt and pain and worry seem to go on and on and on, de-spite our best efforts to find comfort in our faith. We find it hard, almost impossible, to get our minds off our troubles so we can pray, study, wor-ship and be with others. Even our family and friends don’t seem to understand why or how much we are hurting. We feel like Job must have felt.

What do when the pain is overwhelming? Per-haps the best answer anyone can give is no an-swer at all. Perhaps all we can do is listen to one another and just hang on as best we can, as we continue to try to find solace in prayer, Bible study, worship and fellowship, accepting the fact that, like Job, we may never find the answers we’re looking for.