Last week, I said goodbye to two churches I dearly love and prepared to go to another church I look forward to serving. Somehow, I tested positive for COVID-19. Sigh! I received vaccinations and boosters; our churches followed protocols so to test positive now? Now? Plus, the news has been traumatic with so many instances of violence in this country, the war still raging in Ukraine, inflation and economic instability, threats of recession and continued political strife.
It’s tempting to quit, give in, opt out, tune out or just pull the covers over your head and stay in bed.
A few years ago, I searched for the word “comfort” in a Bible on my computer. In seconds, there were over 60 verses. I printed five pages of encouraging scripture. At a Bible study, each person was given a copy and asked to pick a favorite verse and tell how they received comfort during crisis.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) Mary talked of her father dying and how hearing those words at the funeral reminded her of Dad’s loving protection and discipline.
“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him…” (Isaiah 57:18) John laughed and said, “God knows what kind of rascal I am, and He still offers healing and comfort!”
Two women spoke of Ruth 2:13: “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my Lord. You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant — though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.” They spoke of receiving love and comfort from their church family during difficult times.
Greg became excited when he found this one. “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” (Psalm 119:50) He had been going through a painful marital separation and was looking for direction in his life. He found the comfort of God that night and eventually discovered the strength to begin putting his life back together.
Jennifer shared: “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.” (Psalm 119:76) Her children had been difficult that day as she began to cry. Across the table someone quietly read another verse to her. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13)
You could feel God’s Holy Spirit in the room offering reassurance as God’s Word began to soothe troubled hearts and quiet frayed nerves. Tears of sorrow were replaced by sighs of relief as our class members experienced the compassion and the love of a God who never fails to offer comfort, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
What crisis have you been experiencing lately? Have you lost a loved one? Are you worried over your children? Are you struggling with financial or medical problems?
There are verses of comfort, and it doesn’t take a computer to find. Just open your Bible and read. Before long you will feel the power of God and the words of comfort will flood the depths of your soul.
The Bible Study ended with a reminder from Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” (40:1)
May God give me patience to trust God in all my struggles. May God provide comfort and aid for those in the path of continued violence and help our nation find a solution. May God provide a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine. May God help us all find ways to help our neighbors as our they struggle with financial difficulties. May God provide comfort for you during hardship and stress.
As for me, COVID will pass but the love shown through God’s church and the comfort God provides during our struggles restores my energy and keeps my faith alive.