Monday, August 09, 2010

The Beautiful Irony of Comfort

The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.

2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.

3 He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name's sake.

4 Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear [no] danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff —they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
as long as I live. Psalm 23, HCSB

"Comfort is not given to us when we are lighthearted and cheerful. We must travel the depths of emotion in order to experience comfort--one of God's most precious gifts. And then we must be prepared to become coworkers with Him." L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Dessert

In times of grief and distress I reach for voices of God's truth that have always granted me peace and assuredness of His presence. In previous visits to the valley, God gently revealed Himself through this beloved Psalm. Especially in the strategically placement of the valley being in the middle of the Psalm. The valley is never our final destination!

L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Dessert is one of the first places I turn in difficult times. The poignant devotionals are forged in suffering and heartache bathing the reader in God's grace for the wounded. It's one of my primary recommendations for the hurting.

This morning Cowman's first line confirmed something Nate & I keep turning over in our souls. Comfort, something we pursue in order make our lives easier, to keep us from hardship, buffer us from anything distasteful. The more the Lord rewrites our priorities, the more we understand why comfort is a gift to be granted in times of hardship not a right bestowed on the faithful. The more we search for comfort to protect us from suffering the more it smothers us and leaves wanting more. Instead the true meaning of the word comfort is the rain the God pours on the thirsty soul. The dry parched land of our bruised and battered being.

The imprint of these moments are so etched in my soul that their memory alone has brought comfort as we have wandered back into the valley. I know that comfort will come from Him, His hand will fill the deepest hole in my heart, the burning anguish of a soul on fire can only truly be quenched by his Living Water. A fact that is just as true this time as it has been in the past, now not just for me but also for Nate & Sophia.

Today as we climb through the Valley we're aware that it'll come to an end. Just as importantly, we're learning not to pursue comfort in the traditional sense. Instead, we're

learning to see earthly security simply as stuff, things to be held open handed.

No amount of earthly comfort can insulate us from trial. Real comfort is something precious given from the Lord when we're broken. The awareness of what comfort truly is allows us to go forth boldly knowing that we are secure in Christ. He will hold us when the world falls apart, and His comfort truly restores the broken.

"He has given us his very great and precious promises. " 2 Peter 1:4

1 comment:

Allie L. said...

Sarah, this is beautiful writing. Thank you for letting us in. I, too, will turn over in my soul this bit about comfort .... what a true and important distinction you have explored. Thank you. Allie


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