There is so much being written about the COVID-19 virus and how to cope. There are blogs, news articles and general advice about which shows to watch (although, interestingly, not as much on which books to read), how to deal with boredom, how to stay safe, how to engage with your kids, etc. In Christian circles, people are writing about how to care for others, to not live fearfully, to trust God and more. All of this, or at least a lot of it, are good things and I have no desire to simply add my two cents to the situation.
So instead, I thought I would share with you something I have been doing since the start of the year in my own personal reflections that has been quite helpful for me. At the beginning of this year I felt like I need to change my focus a little bit and spend a little more intentional time thinking about and reflecting on who God is and why it matters. The idea comes from Psalms. Many times, a psalm writer would use this phrase: “I lift my eyes . . .” These statements usually reflect a desire to take the focus off the daily mundane and overwhelming needs of what’s right in front of us and put it instead on something bigger and higher. So most days I begin by looking at a different name of God that is used in Scripture and then digging into the meaning and implication of that name in life. I find it uplifting, encouraging and sometimes quite challenging. After all, when it comes to God, if we ask the question “what’s in a name?” the answer is simply, “Everything.”
COMFORTER: God is referred to as the Comforter (ex: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, John 14:26). The word that is translated into English as comforter is the Greek word paraclete which can also be translated as advocate. Without going too deep, the word carries with it the idea of coming alongside, walking with and of speaking on behalf. So why does it matter that God is my comforter? It means that God is close by. He is not distant. He is walking alongside me through all things. When my expectations are unmet, he is there with me. When I need to confess and repent, he helps me and speaks for me. When I face the deep problems of life, he sits with me, sometimes not saying anything but just being there. When I celebrate, he is excited right along with me. He comforts by feeling what I feel, by reminding me I am accepted in his family, significant in purpose and secure in his care. He is never indifferent to my suffering and he does not minimize, ignore or dismiss my pain by telling me to simply “suck it up.” When I speak, he listens with full attention. He knows what words to say and when to say them. He knows when to confront and when to hold back. He reminds me how the story of this life ends and how I am a part of something great and amazing.
Thank you, Jesus, that you are the comforter. I choose to embrace that comfort today!
Weldon Lemke has been leading Hope Chapel since 2009 with a passion to see people come to know God and grow to maturity in Him.