So far this year, we've had a real winter in our subtropical neck of the woods (although a pastor friend in northern Michigan might question that. He wrote the other day to report 10 below zero up there!). We've had lows in the 20s a number of times already, which we haven't experienced at all in the last few winters. Moreover, I'm predicting snow at some point down here, an anomaly that most of us enjoy because it doesn't last long enough to become a nuisance (Frances and I love it because it snowed here the day we started courting, January 18, 1977).
I share this with you because it reminds me of one of my favorite feelings, namely, to be cold and then to get warm. There's just something about the sense of comfort that envelops hands, feet, and all points in between when warmth replaces shivers, or when a fire, blanket, or sweater makes you feel like you're thawing out from within. I also love walking in the cold, for the same reason that you can feel inner warmth arising as you get moving and your blood circulates more rapidly.
This reminds me of our Heavenly Father's ability to comfort and warm us from within, as it were.
"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" (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
The Maker and Redeemer of our hearts knows how to envelop us in His presence when cold winds expose us to the elements of life's challenge, difficulty, heartache and heartbreak. "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you" promises the Lord Jesus to His trusting children (John 14:18). To know such encouragement and draw near to the warm hearth of our Lord's presence involves the faith that believes He can call us in from the cold. We must trust and affirm that He is "the God of all comfort," and that He possesses the reassuring capacity to comfort us in "all our tribulation" and "in any trouble." He can, and we must believe He can. Such faith does not come easily when our hearts are hurting. Moreover, our spiritual enemies seek to keep us in the cold by tempting us to believe that no fire exists that can melt the frozen state of this or that particular extremity.
We must therefore seek the hearth and its warming flame. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). An open Bible, read with a trusting heart through perhaps tear-filled eyes calls us near to the promised provision of God's comfort. Thereby, the Holy Spirit provides assurance and reassurance as our Lord fulfills His promise to not leave us comfortless. The Psalmist concludes our consideration with his discovery of the hearth, the fire, and the warmth to which we also must draw near....
"This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy Word hath quickened me."
Weekly Memory Verse
From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.