Friday, December 19, 2008

God of comfort... Advent of Joy #19

OK, so today has been a hard day. It has been hard for me to even think about writing my advent post. (Sorry it is running so late today) I felt dry, and without any thoughts or words or any outlook on Joy.

Honestly I am struggling with trusting God, and I have been holding out on Him, and that hasn’t made me feel very joyful.

I have needed to re-read the posts I wrote the last few days. For me. I wrote them for me, but I kinda forgot them.

Then I remembered a post I read last night. A friend, at Maiden, Bringer of Peace, wrote a wonderful post about joy. I could practically copy and paste all she wrote right here. But please go visit her post. It was very powerful, especially this quote.

“Real JOY is not based on outward circumstances. God’s kind of joy is knowing - experiencing, accepting - that God loves us, we are special to Him, we are the ‘apple of His eye’, He loves to have us talk to Him and even just to come into His presence.”
(By Maiden, Bringer of Peace in her post “Cause of an Epidemic” on 12-18-08)

I just needed reminding of that. That’s a bit of what I did today. I sat at the coffee shop and found I couldn’t focus on bible reading, or any reading for that matter. I couldn’t even journal. It wasn’t until after I had eaten and moved to a more secluded spot, and started listening to some praise music, that I was even able to relax. I sat and cried, prayed, journaled some, and just felt like God was right there listening to me.

In the process, I came across the following scripture in my search for a different one.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

I wrote something in my journal, to the effect of,
“God do you still give comfort to someone who isn’t quite right with You? To someone who is holding out on You, and knows it? To someone who has every intention of probably holding out on You for a while longer?“

To answer my own question… I think maybe He does… even when we are willful. He knows our motivations and our heart. He knows the depths of our hearts and yet still loves us the same.
So, comfort? In all my troubles?

Yes. At least, I sure hope so.

If the answer to my question is yes, that can give me joy to know that He will comfort me, no matter what and will still hold me in His arms.

He has given me little blessings all day. A gift in the mail, a couple of cards that I am treasuring from a friend for a quiet moment… an early birthday gift from my mother-in-law, so that I can use part of it before the end of the weekend…

Is that His comfort?

I got a huge hug from my little girl when I got home. She came running down the stairs to find me. We wrestled and tickled and had a wonderful bit of mommy and daughter time. Now she is playing quietly around me, just happy to be near me.

Is that His comfort?

I was able to sit in Beatitudes and relax, and soak in Jesus’ presence. I was able to take some time out to rest and relax. I didn’t have to to worry about anyone or anything. I was able to go somewhere I knew was a safe place for me.

Is that His comfort?

I would say that all that is part of God’s working in my life to give me comfort.
To know that He is giving me comfort, in the midst of things that trouble me or are causing me anxiety, makes me feel better. Even if I am disappointed by some things right now, I know that He still desires to help me. I am still the apple of His eye… and only from Him comes real joy.

I need to set aside the disappointment.
I need to set aside the anxieties and troubles.
I just need to set it all down.

Instead I need to accept His comfort and peace and joy.

Oh Lord, May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant (Psalm 119:76). Your promises are true and right. I know that you have said over and over that you will wipe away my mourning, and turn it into joy. You have given me so many things. In so many ways you have comforted me this past year. I know that you love me. I know that your love can be my comfort. Because your love never fails. Others that I love may disappoint me and fail me. I will fail them as well. But I trust in you to never fail me. You say that your love is unfailing. I choose to believe that and rest in your love tonight. Your love will be my comfort and your word a delight to my soul. Help me to share the comfort I am receiving from you with others around me. I love you, Lord. Thank you for showing me your comfort through your love shown by the sacrifice of your Son. Amen.

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