Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction 2 Corinthians 1:3
Often we may hear messages to come out of our comfort zone. Some calls for us to dare to launch out on a new challenge. But if our hearts are filled with sorrow because of our own weakness and failures, it may sound in our ears like the cry of the taskmasters of ancient Egypt, “Make bricks for us without straw!”. The problem we have is not a lack of desire to press forward, but the lack of control over the issues that daily hammer away at us. In our hearts we feel like the sun is going down on our own hopes and dreams, but there is a God who sees beyond our own horizon to a Holy comfort zone by His side.
Paul was encouraging the believers in Corinth to realize that like him, they because of their suffering they would one day be able to give to others the comfort that God had given them. Our ability to give depends one hundred percent on our ability to receive. It is like the national debt. We can’t forever spend money we don’t have without one day risking bankruptcy. Without having first being truly comforted no one can step out of their comfort zone. We will only begin to comfort others after the Holy Spirit pours it into our own hearts. Our responsibility is that when we are in our moments of pain and humiliation that we leave the door unlocked for God to enter in.
As Jesus said – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted Matthew 5:4
Note carefully that Jesus never said, “Blessed are those who deny their sorrow”. We will all pass through the valley of the shadows but in that valley we will find our shepherd walking by our side. On the day that we walk out into the sunshine of his comfort we receive from the Lord an alabaster jar that at just the right moment we can pour out on the feet of others struggling on their journeys. That is the comfort zone that God has prepared for us!
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.