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Village Life

Great Comfort

Mon­day evening, Ariel and I, along with all of the adults of Rose Creek Vil­lage, came togeth­er for a manda­to­ry, last-minute meet­ing called by the lead­ers in the vil­lage. We were giv­en some ter­ri­ble news: one of the fam­i­lies who had been liv­ing in the vil­lage for many years had decid­ed that they were going to leave.

Noah broke the news to us, explain­ing what was going on. Nathanael got up, wept open­ly, and encour­aged us to love them, and to not act out of our emo­tions, but to real­ly try to hear God for them.

Every­one’s hearts were bro­ken, and the air was heavy with sor­row. We love these peo­ple dear­ly, and can’t stand to see them go. But we have to trust in the good­ness and wis­dom of God.

Shammah men­tioned that he wished he could be a bet­ter com­fort to every­one, and as he said it, the word com­fort seemed to rever­ber­ate in my head. As I sat there lis­ten­ing, direct­ly behind the peo­ple speak­ing up front, from my angle, was a ban­ner hang­ing on the wall which read, “Take heart my friends, the Lord is with us.”

I won­dered, where does our com­fort come from? How will we be com­fort­ed?

And I real­ized that true com­fort does not come through a change in our cir­cum­stances for the bet­ter, or by every­thing becom­ing hap­py again, the sun ris­ing, the birds singing, peo­ple stay­ing. True com­fort comes through being with Christ.

In 2 Corinthi­ans, Paul writes:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mer­cies and God of all com­fort; who com­forteth us in all our afflic­tion, that we may be able to com­fort them that are in any afflic­tion, through the com­fort where­with we our­selves are com­fort­ed of God.

2 Cor 1:3–4

The greek word for com­fort in that verse, parak­le­sis, comes from the words para (near, beside), and kaleo (to call) — lit­er­al­ly, to call near to us. The very idea we have of com­fort is that of some­one com­ing close, a hug, a com­fort­ing arm across the shoul­ders, being close.

It is the pres­ence of God which com­forts us and gives us hope. It should­n’t be the out­ward things, as they will always change, but we should be with God and live in his com­fort.

You can find the act­ing out of this by read­ing sto­ries of the peo­ple who suf­fer for the faith (you can find some sim­ple ver­sions of these sto­ries at http://martyrsinmyownwords.wordpress.com), where these amaz­ing peo­ple are com­fort­ed in the most hor­ren­dous cir­cum­stances. What is it that gets them through the excru­ci­at­ing tor­tures and the threat of death? They lived in Christ.

But the com­fort does­n’t stop there.

Lat­er on that evening, Tabach went over to check on the fam­i­lies in that house­hold. He said good­bye and hugged the necks of the broth­er and sis­ter who were plan­ning on leav­ing. In their minds they thought that because they were leav­ing we had become their ene­mies, and seemed sur­prised that any­body was even talk­ing to them. More peo­ple showed up to tell them good­bye, and the love of God was being poured out on this dear broth­er and sis­ter, illu­mi­nat­ing and com­fort­ing.

The sec­ond part of that verse in 2 Cor­in­tians is:

…that we may be able to com­fort them that are in any afflic­tion, through the com­fort where­with we our­selves are com­fort­ed of God.

2 Cor 1:4, NAS

By being with God and receiv­ing His com­fort, we are enabled to share that same com­fort in the same way. In this instance we saw that as peo­ple drew near to the afflict­ed, just as we had God draw near to us, that same con­nec­tion of love flowed through, and God opened eyes, broke the pow­er of decep­tion, and offered com­fort by draw­ing the afflict­ed back to be with him.

They’re not leav­ing now. They have been restored, and God showed us again that He tru­ly does work all things togeth­er for good.

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