True Comfort is Possible
For you are called to freedom, brothers, only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. Galatians 5:13
Can we trust in the great mercy of God and in the hope of his heavenly grace! Whether we are surrounded with good people, well-grounded, spiritual brothers and sisters – faithful friends; holy books with beautiful teachings to read; sweet songs and hymns to sing, all of these only help and please only a little should grace leave our midst and we remain in our own spiritual poverty. It is in such times that there is no better remedy than to have patience, remain resolute and deny ourselves according to the will of God.
Everyone, no matter their spiritual maturity, will experience God’s grace being withdrawn and feel their spiritual zeal decrease. There has never been a saint so highly enraptured and enlightened who was not tempted sooner or later. For no one is worthy of the higher contemplation of God who has not been spiritually developed by some tribulation for God’s sake.
Temptation is but a sign that proceeds a time of comfort yet to come. For this reason, heavenly comfort is promised to those who are proved by temptations. Divine comfort is given to strengthen a person to endure the certainty of adversities in life. Temptation follows divine comfort to prevent us from growing proud of any good we might feel we have done, because the devil does not sleep and our carnality is not yet dead. We must never cease preparing ourselves for the battle at hand; the enemies who never rest are all around us. However, we can find solace in the fact that we are not alone in our temptations and trials that will certainly come upon us. All of us must take up the full armor of God for the battle we face each day to find his comfort that will come through the victory that he alone gives us when we trust in him alone.
Why should we seek to rest and ignore our troubles when we are born to labor? Commit ourselves to patience rather than to comfort, and to bearing the cross rather to pursue pleasure. Be prepared for the temptations and trials that we will most assuredly have to face. However, who in this world would refuse the joy and comfort that the life of Christ revealed, if we could have it as well? There is no comparison to the joy and comfort he reveals versus what could be received in this world. In fact, all the delights and pleasure from this world are worthless, temporal or unclean, but spiritual delights spring from virtue and are pleasant, eternal and true, given by God to those he chooses to receive as pure. However, we cannot take God’s delights anytime we desire, he alone dispenses according to his will. Thus, our times of temptation are not behind us! Bold confidence in ourselves to think freely within our own minds is contrary to divine direction given to us by God.
God treats us well by giving us grace that comforts, but we fail to please God when we fail to return to him thanksgiving from our hearts. As God’s channel of grace to others, we often fail to recognize the source of the many gifts of grace, thus disrupt their flow in and through us. Remember: Grace always accompanies the one who is duly thankful, and what is given to the humble comes at the expense of the proud!
Therefore, true, lasting comfort can only be realized when we become channels of God’s gift of grace to others, always allowing his grace to flow through our lives. God’s grace is abundant and free, overflowing to those who recognize by faith that his grace is best realized when it shared with others as freely as we received it.
My daily prayer: Gracious Lord and Savior, your word is truth and you have proclaimed that your grace is abundant and free to all who trust in you by faith. Please allow me to learn to be a channel of your grace so that your blessings flow to others as freely as they have fallen upon me from you. I recognize that I cannot grow in your grace unless others are growing around me, because I have opened myself as a channel of your grace to be used by you. May I begin to be a faithful and obedient channel of grace as a faithful husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother to my family! Lord, use me as you will to realize the blessings that you have for my family, because as they are comforted in your grace, I am comforted. Then Lord as you desire use me to reach others, but only as you desire me to be used, for your glory and pleasure. May your mercy and compassion be found when temptations attack me or my family. Do not allow the devil to win a victory because of me. In you alone is the victory! Rise up my Lord and Savior and protect us according to your abundant mercy and grace. Amen
For additional reading: Luke 9:23; 14:27; 1 Timothy 4:4-5; Revelation 2:7; 2 Corinthians 12:6-7, 9; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Matthew 9:37-38; John 7:38; James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34