Focus on God

If you haven't said this, you may have heard someone else
ask, “Why did God let this happen?”  In addition to this
question, an aching heart might cry out, “Why didn't God do
something about this?” Both questions are legitimate.  
After all, if God did something, then he wouldn't need to
comfort us. Practically, God could make a perfect world and
there would be no necessity for him to be my comfort, right?

The sad fact is that God DID make a perfect world, and yet,
sin entered into every part of life. “Through one man sin
entered into the world and death through sin and so death
spread to all men because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Before
we lay all responsibility on Adam and Eve, let's remind
ourselves that
scripture tells us that all of us hold personal
responsibility. (Romans 3:23)

Though it is true that we need comfort because we live in a
corrupted world, problems did not need to be present for
God to be our comfort. He has eternally been a Comforter.  
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
(Hebrew 13:8)

God does much more than soothe us when things go wrong.
He strengthens us in and through the challenges of life. The
Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 1:3 is "paraklesis".  
When it is used in reference to God, it means that God
strengthens and helps us to be brave.  Adam and Eve could
have used that type of
help when tempted.  Unfortunately,
they didn't seek God out at that moment.

And look at the loving way God reached out to Adam and
Eve when they were hiding from him.  Imagine how he could
have comforted them, if only they had fallen upon his
mercy!  God can wipe away our tears out of his bountiful
love but he goes further. He does so by helping us face
problems (including our own failures) in his strength.

Picture God as the one who sympathizes with how we feel
but also cares enough not to leave us in pain. The Psalmist
David knew much about the comfort of God. He wrote;
“even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I fear no evil, for You (God, the Good Shepherd) are
with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
(Psalm 23:4) Up until this verse, Psalm 23 looks pretty good
for the sheep under the care of the Good Shepherd. Now life
sets in with dark and foreboding problems. The first three
verses focus on the shepherd but now the personal pronoun,
“I” shows up.

Isn't that just like life for you and me? We can worship God
because of his loving care and for who he is but when
troubles come, we are tempted to look away from him and
more at ourselves. But he doesn't shun us when we do.  He
near even in the dangers and heartaches and he comforts
so that we can keep walking through life with him.

The rod and staff used by the
Good Shepherd are more than
weapons against enemies. They are also tools to guide us
when we get off the track. A shepherd will toss the rod just
beyond a wandering sheep to startle it in order to turn it
back.  Or he will catch a sheep in the crook of a staff to lift
it or turn it from danger.  Wandering can happen quickly
when our focus becomes wrapped around life situations.
Sometimes God has to comfort us by getting our attention
and turning our attention back on him.

Problems cannot solve themselves but God, my
encouragement, my burden bearer, my hope, my help and
guide is the one who comforts me – and you.

On a cold winter night, it's always great to snuggle up with a
nice blanket. God is more than just a blanket. He's the one
who gives me courage as I focus on him. He is my Comfort.
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