The difficulty of parenting teenagers last week drove me to seek comfort in something, but I didn’t know what. I grabbed my laptop for a while—checked email, checked my sons grades (which was not a good idea), and played a quick game of Scrabble. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel “comforted” by any of these things. So I grabbed my smart phone and went through a similar routine—perused the news app, looked at Twitter, checked the weather forecast, aimlessly searched the TV guide app to see what was on TV, and glanced at what movies were playing at the theater.
As I sat there with my phone in hand, it dawned on me I was longing to be comforted and consoled by something…by anything. I was literally desiring to be caught up in the midst of a virtual, non-reality fog when my true reality was ready to either cry my face off or punch something.
You see, when life gets hard, when difficulties arise, when we’re faced with a struggle, a battle, or challenge, we run to seek comfort in whatever tangible, immediate way we can find. For some it’s chocolate, ice cream, potato chips, flavored coffee, or a glass of wine. For others it’s Facebook, Instagram, reality TV, a romance novel, or computer game. Whatever it is, it gives us an immediate (albeit superficial) relief from our troublesome reality.
When I finally came to my senses after being mesmerized by media, I was not only disturbed by how much I rely on it to comfort or console me, I was convicted by the very thought. I literally said to myself, “Beth, this is ridiculous!” I put my phone and laptop away and began crying out to God for His mercy and compassion. I unloaded on Him my heap of parenting woes (as if He didn’t know them already). I asked for His help, His direction, His guidance, His solutions, His grace, His patience, and His perspective.
It’s in these times of struggle we need to be reminded that God is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). Not only that, but He comforts us in all our troubles (2 Corinthians 1:4)—not just some of our trouble, or only the times when He’s not busy comforting others, but all our troubles. We need to remember there’s only one Everlasting Comforter. There’s only one True Source—and oh, how He longs to be that for us. Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, NAS).
Could it be that all these things (like comfort, consolation, and encouragement) would indeed be added to us if we truly would seek Him first? Could it be that in the midst of our painful reality, we have a God who loves us, cares about our pain, and is literally in our midst as well?
Jesus invited all of us—whether we’re struggling or not—to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, ESV). I don’t know about you, but the next time I feel I’m at the end of my rope, you can bet I’ll be asking…seeking…and knocking on the door of the God of all comfort. (Truth be told, that will probably come after the chocolate, but believe me…I’ll get there! :-))