Christ, The Fountain Of Comfort
By Octavius Winslow (1808 – 1878)
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
It is a delightful thought that in His own infinite heart, in the Covenant of Grace, in the Gospel of His love, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, God has made provision for all the sorrows of His people! No new trial springs up in your path, no new grief shades your spirit, no new calamity crushes you to the earth that the God of all comfort has not anticipated in the comfort He has provided for His church. “Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men” (Psa. 31:19).
And what a comfort is the Lord Jesus Christ to His people! There could be no revelation of God as the God of all comfort except through Christ. He is the great Depository of our consolation. He is even called the “consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). Christ is our comfort and the Holy Spirit is our Comforter. Who can listen to these words of tenderness and love distilled from His lips into the sorrowing hearts of His disciples on the eve of their separation from Him and not feel that Christ is truly the consolation of His people: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:1-2).
Does your sorrow spring from a sense of sin? Jesus’ blood pardons. Is it from a conviction of condemnation? Jesus’ righteousness justifies. Is it from the power of indwelling sin? Jesus’ grace subdues. Is it from some pressing temporal need? All resources are in Jesus, and He has promised to supply all your need so that your bread and your water will be sure. Is sore, crushing bereavement your grief? Where will you find such tender sympathy as in His heart of whom it is recorded, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35)? Who can comfort that sorrow but Christ? He can and He will comfort it. Does some foe menace you, or does some insurmountable difficulty lie in your way? All power is Christ’s, and He will defend you from your enemy and roll your stone of difficulty from before your feet. Does suffering, and waning health affect your spirits? He who “bare our sicknesses” (Matt. 8:17) is your consolation now and will not leave you to suffer alone. He can either heal your malady with a word or make all your bed in sickness, by the supports of His grace and the discoveries of His love, such that you are willing to lie there patiently so long as it please Him.
Learn from the subject to take all your troubles to God at once. God wants you to make use of Him as the God of comfort. Why has He revealed Himself as such if not that you should go to Him immediately and without hesitation in every tribulation? They are sent for this purpose that you might “acquaint yourself with Him” (Job 22:21). Many poor souls have made their first acquaintance with God in some deep, sore trial. It was not until God tore up all their earthly comforts by the root that they were led to see that they had been living without God.
But it is in the later stages of our religious life that we know more of the character of God, learn more of His loving heart and of His revealed Word as we fly to Him in our tribulations for the comfort only He can give. Oh, the blessedness of nearness to Him into which our trouble has brought us! And we should not overlook the various channels through which God comforts us. He comforts us by His Word, its doctrines, promises, and precepts. He comforts us through the channel of prayer, drawing us to His mercy seat and bringing us into communion with Himself through Christ. What comfort flows through this channel! The moment we arise and give ourselves to prayer, we are conscious of a mental quietness and indescribable soothing of heart. Prayer has unloosed the burden, dissolved the cloud, and proved an inlet of peace, joy, and hope, passing understanding and full of glory. Nor must we forget that God often comforts His people by putting to death all comfort outside of Himself. He said to His church, “Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her” (Hos. 2:14). Is He bringing you, beloved, into the wilderness of separation, trouble, or solitude? You can be sure that it is to comfort you, to speak to your heart, and to reveal Himself to you as the “God of all comfort who comforteth us in all our tribulation.”
Is it no comfort to be assured that Christ is yours, and that you are Christ’s? With such a Savior and Friend, with such a Patron and Intercessor in heaven as Jesus, how comforted should you be in all your tribulations! Jesus knows you; others may not. The world assails, the saints judge; friends misinterpret and foes condemn, just because they do not know or cannot understand you. Jesus knows you! Let this suffice. What a comfort that you can admit Him to every corner of your soul and to every secret of your heart with the feeling that He sees all, knows all, and understands all.
The moment you are brought fully to realize, “Christ knows me altogether: my personal infirmities, my secret sorrows, my domestic trials, my professional anxieties, all the workings of my inner life,” you are comforted as no friend on earth or angel in heaven could comfort you. What a Christ is ours! How we should love Him, trust Him, serve Him, and, if need be, suffer and die for Him.