Finding Comfort and Peace
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
With my kids home from college for the summer, we will most likely resume our Sunday morning tradition of leaving early for church to stop by our favorite coffee shop before the service. I always buy the breakfast and drinks – for anyone whose along. It’s just what I do as dad. My kids simply know that they can always count on me for coffee and breakfast before church. If, however, one of them refused to get out of bed (they are adults now) on Sunday morning, he or she would miss out on this event. If one of them refused to go, it would be completely unreasonable for him or her to expect coffee and a scone. They would simply miss out.
I wouldn’t love that child any less. He or she wouldn’t stop being part of the family. The one that stayed in bed would have simply made a choice that precluded them from being part of Sunday morning coffee. I’d still be holding up my end of the arrangement. If and when he or she returned to getting up early, I’d still be there. I’ll always do my part, but they also must do theirs to experience the blessing.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but this is similar to our father-child relationship with God. In today’s passage, Paul taught that God is a God of comfort. He loves us and wants what’s best for us and he desires that we know a life of peace. To receive the blessing though, we have a responsibility to live in such a way that we may experience it.
Often, I’ve created turmoil and then, in my distress, gone to God asking for peace and comfort. I’m miserable God. Please make me feel better. The problem is that I cannot reasonably ask for God’s comfort while I’m clinging to the thing that’s making me uncomfortable. I cannot hope for peace while I’m creating chaos.
If we want to know a life of comfort and peace, we must abandon those things that steal them from us. We must daily turn from our greed, lust, anger, resentments, pride, addictions, and self-destructive behaviors. Then, we must seek God, living in an intimate relationship with him. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll remove all the trials from our lives. It does mean that we may know peace and comfort despite life’s trials, as we learn that our joy comes not from our circumstances, but from a loving relationship with our heavenly father.