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Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
August 17th, 2022
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me” Psalm 27:4
I sometimes marvel how we are permitted to live in a very comfortable time and place in earth’s history, in a generally very inhospitable and very uncomfortable world of sin. In some ways, we wish we could have it better, but we all probably recognize that we could’ve been born into a situation much worse.
We are a species who longs for, who strives for, comfort. If you were to Google “comfort”, you’d likely get links back trying to sell you shoes, or bedding, or fluffy couches, but I doubt there’d be much on the level of soul comfort.
The world has its ways to soothe & entertain us during our free time: you can pay to get whisked away to a pristine beach, you can go experience the thrill of a casino or a sporting event, you could even get a luxurious massage at a spa. But again, in the area of soul comfort, it comes up short.
I suppose many ignore the fact that our souls need to be comforted and embraced, but I suppose meditation practices and support groups try to address this fact.
We are so blessed as Christians to know that our primary comfort comes from God. From King David taking consolation from God’s presence & instruments of directing in the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ in Psalm 23 (quoted above), to Jesus offering rest for our souls in his famous “come unto me” passage late in Matthew 11, we are blessed to have a God who wants to do more than exact obedience from us: but bless us, accompany us, and fulfill us.
Look how Paul discusses the emphasis of soul comfort over physical comfort in this passage from Philippians 4: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (vv. 12-13.
Another beautiful passage comes in 2nd Corinthians 1. This passage was highlighted in a worship service this past Monday morning at the conference office which I was so blessed by. As you read, remember what a rugged time the early Christians lived in: there was no air-conditioning, only very rudimentary cushioning, and 90% of transportation took place on foot (unless another person or animal was transporting you – to their great discomfort!).
I encourage you to read it slowly, let this principle sink deep into your soul, and receive solace from the Lord wherever you are.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Cor. 1:3-7
You see that the passage doesn’t talk about God externally removing trying circumstances, but rather accompanying and soothing us through them. So I pray, whatever you’re going through, that you will affirm & draw comfort from the God of comfort. Never question his love for you, and (metaphorically) let yourself be held by his loving embrace. May He dwell in you and fulfill you in all you do (as he promises to! Matthew 28:20) this week and beyond.
Pr. Mark Tatum