I inherited, for better or worse, cold blood and poor circulation. What I mean is that I often feel cold rather than warm. Consequently, I love warm weather . . . and space heaters!
The other day while I was praying in my study, I literally laid right in front of my space heater, so my cold hands would warmup. Immediately, upon beginning my prayer, this thought crossed my mind: I am as pathetic as Jonah!
If you remember the story, Jonah ran from God, but God chased him down. After Jonah reluctantly complied to do God’s will, sulking, he left the city of Nineveh, finding comfort in a plant that provided shade for him from the hot Middle Eastern sun (John 4:6). Sitting in the shade, I can imagine Jonah saying, “God, all I want is to be comfortable. Can’t you grant me just that?” Unfortunately, for Jonah, God killed the plant. All Jonah wanted was a little comfort.
In thinking about my comfort and Jonah’s, three realities about comfort come to mind:
- The first reality is that we all seek comfort. No one likes to be uncomfortable: physically, mentally, relationally, situationally, etc.
- The next reality is that in this life we will at times feel (and be) uncomfortable.
- The final reality is that Christ is our only true and lasting comfort. This reality is stated beautifully in the famous first question of the Heidelberg Catechism: What is our only comfort in life and death? The answer is:
That I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins
with his precious blood
and has set me free
from all the power of the devil.
He also preserves me in such a way
that without the will of my heavenly Father
not a hair can fall from my head;
indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit
he also assures me of eternal life
and makes me heartily willing
and ready from now onto live for him.
We sing this time of year of the comfort of Christ: “Oh tidings of comfort and joy.”
So, whatever level of comfort or discomfort you find in your life right now, in the details (e.g., cold hands) or in the whole of your life (e.g., going through a job transition), believe the truth today that Christ is ultimately your only true and lasting comfort in this life and the next.
Pastor Dan Burrus
For more on the comfort of Christ, especially in the incarnation, listen to “The Comfort of the Incarnation”