We are leading another group of folks through “God’s Healing in Grief.” This is a ten-week online study. Everyone in the class has lost loved ones and are hurting. Some are moving into a place of helping others who are hurting.
Lesson One is all about God’s comfort and His nature. Part of the study involves making a list of everything we learn about God from the Bible passages we read. Having gone through this study a few times now, I have a fairly long list of what I learned about God in Lesson One.
I also learned that “comfort” in Scripture isn’t just bringing someone a cup of hot tea and chocolate. It isn’t just a hug or a warm blanket. We might imagine in our humanity that these types of things are all there is to comfort. But comfort from God is much more! Comfort from God is:
The Greek term is “Parakaleo”. It means…
- to call to one’s side, call for, summon
- to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
- to admonish, exhort
- to beg, entreat, beseech
- to strive to appease by entreaty
- to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
- to receive consolation, be comforted
- to encourage, strengthen
- exhorting and comforting and encouraging
- to instruct, teach
Notice that the Greek term includes instruction and exhortation. God will not only console us, He will call us to His side and instruct us so we can walk in His ways. He will encourage and strengthen us.
Here is my list of What I Learned About God:
My help comes from the Lord.
God made the heavens and the earth (Who am I to question Him?)
He does not slumber or sleep (He is not like me, He is not like humans.)
He is my shade. (He is a safe place to rest in the heat of life or in the storm.)
He will keep me. (I am His and I am protected/kept by Him. I can trust Him.)
He will keep me from evil. (He protects me from evil, even when I don’t see it.)
He will keep my life (my soul, my spirit, my life eternally).
He will keep my going out and coming in both now and forevermore (eternally).
(I need to have an eternal perspective on these promises. This passage does not promise me physical life on earth.)
God promises a crown of life for those who love Him. (Not here on earth, but in eternity.)
The Comforter/ Holy Spirit is sent by God.
He will teach me all things.
He will bring things that He has taught me to my remembrance. (Grief brain and memory loss do not change this truth. In His timing, He will remind me of what He has taught me. I must be teachable and willing to learn. He cannot bring things to me which I have not first learned.)
1 Chronicles 28:9
The Lord searches all hearts.
(I cannot know the heart of another, but He does. He knows who is saved, who loves Him, who is serving Him. I do not. It is not my job to judge another man’s heart. I can trust God to do this.)
He is the Father of mercies.
He is the God of all comfort
(These are His names. They tell us His nature, who He is. Just like my names of “mom” and “grandmom” tell about who I am.)
He comforts me in all my afflictions (ALL! He does not ever say “That affliction is not worth my time or comfort!” His comfort includes instruction and admonishment.)
Why? So that I may comfort others who are in any affliction. (I don’t get to judge someone else’s affliction as too trivial to be worth my time and comfort. I have received comfort and must comfort others. This implies that there are people to whom I will be sent for the specific purpose of comforting them.)
We are not alone in our suffering; we share in the suffering of Christ. We also share abundantly in His comfort.
“Comfort is from God and is transferable.” ~ Larry Brown.
The Lord hears and delivers me when I cry out to Him for help.
He is near to the broken-hearted.
He saves the crushed in spirit.
The Lord delivers the righteous out of all our affliction.
(ALL our affliction. His saving doesn’t always look like what I want it to, however. And I can trust Him because He is good and does good. He loves me and knows best. I can trust in His salvation.)
He counts my tossings.
He puts my tears in a bottle and in His book.
(God notices my pain, my struggles, my sorrow. He saw my sleepless nights. He was never far from me, even when I felt alone. He considered my tears precious enough to keep in a special place. I am grateful He knows and counts my tossings.)
He heals the broken-hearted and binds up our wounds.
(We will have wounds as long as we live on planet earth. This world is broken; we will be hurt and suffer. BUT GOD…but God will be near us and bind up our wounds. He does not ignore our suffering.)
God has steadfast love!
His love never ceases.
His mercies never end. They are new every morning. (I cannot use up all His mercies. He has more mercies every day, just when I need them.)
The Lord is my portion. (my share, inheritance, allotment. He is all I need.)
I will hope in Him. (This is a choice, a decision, an action on my part.)
He will give me rest.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
He is gentle.
1 Peter 5:7
God cares for me!
I can give Him all my anxieties, my worries, my fears.
God love me. He gives me eternal life.
He showed His love for me by sending Jesus to die for me every while I was still a sinner.
(I didn’t have to clean up or do anything to deserve His love or His salvation. He did it all for me.)
1 Corinthians 15:3-5
Christ died for my sins, was buried and was raised on the third day.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
In Christ all shall be made alive.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep. (We will be with our loved ones again on that day.)
He is the God of hope.
He will fill me with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
I am putting all of this in a small notebook. I also started a page for the names of God – the names He calls Himself in the passages we study. Here is my list from Lesson One:
Father of mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3)
God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3)
God of Hope (Romans 15:13)
Comforter, Holy Spirit (John 14:26)
In our suffering and grief, God is still God. He is active and alive. He is love, He comforts us and binds up our wounds. He is the God of all comfort!
If you are hurting today, take a look at these passages of scripture. Trust Him, for He is worthy of our trust. He loves you. Let Him bind you wounds.