"Cold and Comfort"
"He casteth forth His ice like morsels. Who can stand before His cold?" (Psalm 147:17).
One of my favorite physical sensations is to be cold and then to get warm. Something about the discomfort and subsequent comfort seems very, well, very comforting. I have been blessed throughout my lifetime to experience few times when I could not escape frigid temperatures in a relatively short time (although a night at Fenway Park in Boston and an early morning witnessing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City do come to mind! My feet still feel frozen when remembering the latter!).
Thinking about the sensation often causes me to consider others who may not find ready escape from the cold. Whether through environment, homelessness, illness, or even the effects of some medications, many people cannot quickly enjoy the experience of warmth. The realization has led to many prayers over the years, intercessions based on the Biblical calling of our own challenges and receptions of God's provision serving as opportunity to seek His help for others.
"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, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation" (II Corinthians 1:3-6).
The pains known by the Lord Jesus became the basis of redemption for others - "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many." The same Christ now lives in believers by the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, purposing to live the same character and quality of life in us - "I will dwell in them and walk in them...Walk, even as He walked" (Matthew 20:28; II Corinthians 6:16; I John 2:6). We must therefore view our pains, difficulties, and challenges first as opportunities to glorify our Lord and to serve as means whereby we bless others. When cold, I try to remember this, seeking the Lord's comfort and provision for others in prayer, and offering myself as any means of comfort He might desire to minister through me. This Scriptural principle applies to every challenge we experience as our reception of God's comfort prepares us to serve as His conduit through which the grace of Christ flows in hope and help.
The love of the Lord Jesus turns us inside out. Our fleshly tendencies toward self-centeredness are replaced by His nature of others-devoted love as we walk with Him by faith in His enabling, and submission to His purposes. This is life - "to live is Christ - and there is no other - "I am… the life" (Philippians 1:21; John 14:6). I am a slow, slow learner in the things of the Spirit. But I am realizing more and more that discomforts of any kind come to us for the purpose of first seeking comfort for others. This is the love of God for us, in us, and through us, redounding and resounding to the glory of the Christ who "gave Himself for us" (Titus 2:14).
"So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:12)
Weekly Memory Verse
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.