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Comfort

The news has been traumatic lately. Devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian is still being felt in the Bahamas and on our East Coast — lives lost, families forced to live in shelters, billions in property damage. In addition, several members of our personal family and our church family have experienced illness and personal tragedies.

Looking for words of encouragement, I typed the word “comfort” in a Bible program on my computer. In seconds, there were over 60 verses. I clicked print and received five pages of comforting scripture. At a Bible study, I handed each person a copy and asked them to pick a favorite verse and tell how they received comfort in the midst of 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 still provides healing and comfort!”

Two women chose 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. “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 God’s comfort and eventually discovered the strength to begin putting his life back together.

Jennifer added: “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.” (Psalm 119:76) She spoke of how 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 Spirit in the room offering reassurance 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? Worried over your children? Family or friends in the Hurricane zones? Marital difficulties? Job loss? Medical problems?

There are verses of comfort for you and it doesn’t take a computer to find. Just open your Bible and begin to read. Before long you will feel the presence of God and the words of comfort will flood the very depths of your soul.

The Bible study ended with a reminder from Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” (40:1) May God provide com- fort and aid for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian and your family and community as we cope with crisis and grief. May God provide comfort for you in the midst of hardship and stress. May you experience the amazing grace only God can provide.