“…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 comforted by God” 2 Cor 1:4 ESV
The morning after July 4th I woke up tired and groggy from accumulated lack of sleep. My body felt achy and my eyes strained to open to the sunlight beaming through the blinds. Then, the cutest little man enters the room and crawls into my bed. My four-year-old son quietly sneaks into my bedroom to snuggle. We call this our snuggle “buggle” time. It usually buys me some more rest time, but more than anything we both enjoy the expression of love and affection. I wrap my arms around him, he lays his head next to mine and we both close our eyes. I kiss him on his soft checks and tell him I love him and he says, “I love you so much and so much momma!” Sometimes we play a game of tickle tag in bed. This morning he asked for a “nose” kiss so we rubbed our noses together. He giggled and closed his eyes again. There is so much comfort and joy in displays of affections like these. It makes our hard-to-wake-up days worthwhile.
Our heavenly Father displays his great love and affections too, and they are a great comfort to His children. Firstly, he demonstrates His great love for us in that while we were still sinners He sent Christ to die in our place in order to adopt us into His forever family. (Romans 5:8) Then, he gives us His name and likeness through His Spirit that acts as a parental guardian going with us along the bumpy road of our sojourning in this world. In our afflictions and trials, God himself comforts us with His presence and embraces us in his arms of mercy. “Puritan preacher Thomas Goodwin depicted the enjoyment of adoption by describing a man ‘walking along the road with his little boy, holding hands—father and son, son and father. The little boy knows that this man is his father and that his father loves him. But suddenly the father stops, picks up the boy, lifts him up into his arms, embraces him and kisses him and fondles him. Then he puts him down again, and they continue walking… The father’s action has not changed the relationship… but oh, the difference in the enjoyment!’” (Dave Furman, Kiss the Wave)
Our God is love and he is ever by His children’s side. He is especially near during times when we are in deepest despair, and we run to hide in His bosom. He gives us divine comfort and even joy so that we could then gladly share His great love with a hurting world. “Those who experience the most suffering will receive the most comfort. And those who receive the most comfort are thereby most richly equipped to comfort others.” (John MacArthur) So if we have been comforted by His own sweet snuggles through His Spirit and Word, we can rest assured God has a much greater purpose in our suffering. May countless more benefit from the painful but beautiful faith and love God is knitting within our hearts to share with others in Christ’s name.