I was astonished when what normally brings me comfort suddenly was no comfort to me at all.
I sat down at my computer to empty my heart….and there were no words.
Any attempt to force the words felt just like that….forced.
In his book Grieving With Hope, Samuel J. Hodges shares about how comfort comes in different forms for different people.
What brings you comfort may actually disturb someone else.
What I found was what normally brought me tremendous comfort suddenly brought me no comfort at all. And I think that just as comfort may come in different forms for different people, it also may come in different forms for us at different stages of our life.
But I have found immense comfort from a new source, something that has become incredibly meaningful and opened my heart up again to be able to write.
Comfort is a tricky thing, because we may not have a clue as to what truly gives us comfort.
We may think we need to be surrounded by friends and family, only to find their presence bothersome and intrusive. And yet, we find the silence too oppressive.
What’s more, what may truly give us comfort may be the very thing we’re avoiding.
Perhaps we need to just get out of the house and go for a walk, or help someone in need — and yet we find it difficult just walk out of our front door.
We need to give comfort a try
If you’re unsure of what brings you comfort, begin to try various activities:
Inviting friends or family over
Helping out at a homeless shelter or charity
Finding a craft or project
My advice, though, would be to not make a commitment to anything.
Don’t commit to helping out in a project every other weekend for an extended time. Make your project a one-time event and then evaluate whether or not this project brought some level of comfort to your life.
If it does, continue to engage in that project with minimal or no commitment.
It is best not to make any commitments or long-term decisions until you are in a good frame of mind to do that.
Always turn to the Lord for comfort
While new projects or activities may bring a level of comfort to our hearts, only the Lord can bring true lasting comfort.
What I discovered this time was that digging deep into Bible study gave me tremendous comfort.
Not just passages about comfort, just Bible study in general. Not reading, real study – deep, theological study that challenges me to look at a passage from a whole new perspective.
Whether you turn to the Psalms, or your favorite book in the Bible, do not avoid your quiet times. Seek the Lord, pray, pour out your heart, and remember that many times David wept and cried out to God in times of great pain and distress.
Numbing your pain only prolongs your grief
If there is anything I’ve learned at all from the past five years of walking through multiple losses, it is that unhealthy “comfort” – which is truly just numbing – only prolongs the pain.
The thing is, once the numbing has worn off, the pain returns.
Healthy comfort from the Lord enables a person to walk through pain with peace in their heart, despite their pain.
Numbing, on the other hand, finds a temporary escape from the pain as a way to forget the pain, or pretend it’s not there, only to find that pain returns later.
And this only prolongs the pain, because true comfort never happens.
Comfort is a process that leads a person to an ultimate place of healing. Numbing is an escape that only deadens the pain, without healing it.
If you’re walking through a painful time right now, ask yourself, “Am I seeking comfort or an escape?” Am I walking through my pain or avoiding my pain.
Allow Jesus to walk with you through the pain.