Good question. Well, are you? Comfortable, that is.
Comfortable. “Comfort” + “able” = “capable of being comforted.”
We learn a lot about ourselves by being around humans, and with 7.5 billion of them currently on the planet, there are plenty of learning opportunities available.
I’ve noticed that the learning opportunity is maximized when dealing with tiny humans. (Also with the elderly, but that’s a topic for another post.)
Some friends of ours had a newborn who was fussy for the first eight months of her life. They never did find out exactly what was wrong with her, but there was just no way to make her stop crying except to hold her in a particular way that made their arms ache after about a minute and a half. The two of them passed her back and forth, and if anyone else with two good arms was in the room with them, they were invited to participate in the maneuver also. It was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. One day, the loving but worn-out dad confessed to us, “I’m finding it very hard to have affection for her.”
Babies are, of course, very easy to love. Adults eagerly find hundreds of ways to distract screaming infants from whatever ails them, and we are over the moon when we see that tearful face sprout a huge grin. As the child grows, we learn new ways to comfort, and in the business of calming and consoling, we fall even more deeply in love. I think perhaps it is not much different in relationships between adults.
Robert Brault put it this way: “There is no more engaging quality in a person than the ability to be made happy.”
But when someone you love is inconsolable, what then?
True relationship, in the reciprocal sense, becomes almost impossible. While there may still be emotional transactions between the two of you, those transactions are centered around the difficulty, the problem, the agony – and yet both of you at some point begin to perceive that no relief is occurring.
Of course, we continue to do whatever we reasonably can in the hope that we may relieve our loved one’s distress, if only a little bit. That is what our humanity demands. That is what real love demands. That is our job as humans.
But we have another job, too. We are to receive comfort from those who attempt to give it to us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”
There it is.
Our God has yet another Name: God of all comfort. It’s what He does. It is His nature to comfort.
There are people mentioned in the Bible, however, who chose not to be “comfort-able.”
“I will go down to Sheol… mourning.” Jacob, in Genesis 37.
“My soul refused to be comforted.” Psalm 77
“Rachel is weeping… she refuses to be comforted…” Jer. 31
To refuse comfort, to be “un-comfort-able,” is to reject the God who is the source of all real comfort. In fact, it is to reject The Comforter Himself – the Holy Spirit.
“… Who comforts us in our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction…”
Send away your right to be comfortless. Remove the armor from your heart, the walls from your mind, and open up to receive the attempts of loved ones who are trying to be the hands and feet of the God of All Comfort.
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones. All your sons will be taught of the Lord, and the well-being of your sons will be great. In righteousness you will be established, you will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; and from terror, for it will not come near you. If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me. Whoever assails you will fall because of you.” Isaiah 54