Thoughts on the Nature of Comfort

This past week, my almost three year old had to have a minor outpatient surgery. They had to put him to sleep for a short time and I was called back when he was in the recovery room, very slowly waking up from the anesthesia. It was pretty rough. He was moaning and crying and tossing and turning, trying to yank out the I.V., trying to pull off the monitors attached to his body, but all with his eyes closed, obviously not fully aware of what was going on. When I walked in, the nurse was trying to keep him from falling off his bed. I went straight for him and she asked if I wanted to hold him. Yes. Of course! 

 

She helped me get him out of the bed without disturbing the various wires, and I settled in a rocking chair with him. Even though he wasn’t awake, he knew it was me holding him. He immediately tried to snuggle as close to me as possible, still moaning and thrashing around. I held him tight and whispered in his ear, over and over, Mama’s here, it’s ok. Mama’s here. You’re going to be ok. He would settle down for a little bit and then start thrashing around again. And the whole time I was whispering to him, a litany of Presence. I am here. You are not alone. You are safe. Feel me touching you. Feel me holding you. I’ve got you. 

 

As I held him, I thought about comfort. How, in his pain and confusion, he craved physical touch, craved hearing my voice. In essence, what he really needed was to know that he was not alone. 

 

I thought about all the times that I have needed comforting. Even in my forties, I still have an occasional nightmare that jerks me awake panting in sheer terror. In that moment in time, when my heart is racing, and I am still struggling to sort out truth from fiction, all I want is for my husband to hold me. Let me feel your presence, let me know I am not alone. Let me feel protected in your arms. 

 

As a child with his parents or a wife with her husband, physical touch as a form of comfort is acceptable. But, in our less close relationships, we often don’t feel free to touch each other while offering comfort. So, what do we do? 

 

If you think back and remember times that people have comforted you, comfort basically boils down to letting someone know that they are not alone. I am so sorry for the death of your close one. I just want you to know that I’m praying for you. Here’s a token:  a card, or a cake, or a casserole…I just want you to know that someone is thinking about you enough to take time to get you something. You are not alone. 

 

Or perhaps when someone is suffering with cancer, we pull up memories of times that we faced cancer with another loved one. And the whole point of bringing up these other stories is that we want to assure them that they are not alone. Other people have walked this same path and had good outcomes. 

 

All this makes me wonder, is loneliness actually the worst thing that we can face?  When I think about all the times that I have been sad or heartbroken, I can say, yes, it has stemmed from some kind of loneliness. Perhaps missing friends, perhaps fear of losing someone close to me, perhaps being overwhelmed with life and feeling like I have no one to help me. No one who cares.

 

Two days ago I posted a blog about struggling with depression. I posted it on my Facebook and my friends came out in droves to comfort me. We’re here Esther! We love you! How can we help you? Have you tried these solutions? It was comfort. An offering of Presence from over the internet. 

 

Thank you all. 

 

We were made to be in relationship. Not alone. Relationship with God. Relationship with each other. 

 

“It is not good that the man should be alone…” Gen 2:18a

 

Thanks for being my friends and easing that loneliness. 

 

Don’t Worry

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not worry? About anything? I know the Bible tells us not to worry, and we pay lip service to that. But deep down, if you are anything like me, you have a running list of things that you can drag up at a moments notice to worry about. I’ve been reading more about the sovereignty of God. And it strikes me really hard, how foolish worry is. Either God is in control or he isn’t. If he is, then why are we worrying? If he isn’t then yes, we should definitely live our lives in fear and trembling. My reading of the Bible seems to say that actually, Yes, he is in control. So, why the heck am I worrying about everything? 

 

Does he love me or not? We sing the song “Yes Jesus love me…” and smile at our children when they sing it so sweetly. But do we believe it? If Jesus loves me, and he is God, then what on earth do I have to worry about? 

 

I think what scares me, is that we don’t have any promises in the Bible that say we are going to live a life without pain, without hardship, without trials. God doesn’t promise that. He does promise that he will be with us always, that he works all things to good, that he will never leave us or forsake us. But I worry…I don’t want trials and hardships. And I have a hard time seeing how God can be in control and love me when I am suffering. 

 

What if God is using those hardships and trials to change me? What if it’s more important to him that I grow to be more like him than that I stay in a state of constant ease and comfort? That seems very un-American. The American dream is to pursue wealth and happiness. Going through suffering that changes our character and strengthens us and makes us more like Jesus, just doesn’t seem right. Not very loving. God’s must have lost control somewhere along the way.

 

My dream is to live a life without worry. To be able to confidently say, God’s got this. He’s in control. I can trust him. He loves me. 

 

No matter what the circumstances, I want to walk in his perfect peace. 

 

Lord may it be so. 

 

Though I am secretly worried about what trials and hardships I will have to overcome before I finally get it! I guess it comes down to faith. And the Bible says that we can ask God to strengthen our faith…:”Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” 

 

I guess that’s my prayer tonight as I write this. Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!