When I imagine examples of comforting love, I tend to think of movies and TV more than childhood memories. That being said, a child who is hurt or frightened instinctively turns to the nurturing embrace of a parent. Whatever the pain is, it is more easily borne or forgotten in the arms of comforting love. No doubt many of you have such memories, and from this you draw great comfort, even as adults.
As we continue to look at the second chapter of the book of Philippians, Paul refers to such a love. The source of this love is Christ:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2:2
Paul has reminded the Philippians, in chapter one, of his love for them, his thankfulness for them, and his faith in them (Christ in them). Now, in Chapter 2 he has begun to build a bridge between that foundation and a supernatural challenge. In the last post, we looked at the first phrase (encouragement from being united with Christ). Today, we look more closely at the second: comfort from his love.
I spend many hours with hurting people. Most of the time, it is beyond my ability (and theirs as well) to remove the source of their pain. Terminal illness, grief, betrayal and bewilderment are a few recurrent themes that parade through my modest offices, an ever-revolving kaleidoscope of pain. For whatever reasons, people find comfort and healing in being cared about and truly heard. And from the ashes, beauty emerges.
The comfort that comes from the love of Christ has many levels. We find comfort in his sacrifice on our behalf, in humble obedience to the will of the Father. He comforts us as a compassionate high priest who has been tempted in every way. We experience his comfort through the ministry of his Holy Spirit and through the words and actions of gifted believers who serve on his behalf. We are encouraged by Scripture to give it away as freely as we receive it.
The problem or the pain in your life may not be instantly healed or removed today. But the comfort of his love is with you. Don’t push him away. His heart is broken for you. There may be many unanswered questions for now. Trust him in the meantime. He will comfort you. He laid it all down for you once, and he promised to never leave you. Take his hand. Touch the hem of his garment. And find comfort.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5