Children can get comfortable in virtually any circumstance. Alone or in a crowd, stretched out on their bed or cramped in a car seat, circumstance seems to have little to do with their comfort. For children, comfort is rooted in assurance, not surfaces or society. If they trust that dad and mom have everything well in hand, they can sleep anywhere and everywhere. Parenting experts have long pointed out that when children have trouble going to sleep or staying in bed, they are often anxious that dad and mom don’t have it together. Without assurance, they take no comfort. With assurance they find comfort everywhere.
Adults are quite a different matter. We are good at crafting comfortable circumstances — softer fabrics, ergonomic chairs, and bags of meds and supplements that eclipse Santa’s pack. And spend our time, energy and brass seeking comfort, but little time being comfortable. If comfort could be acquired, we would have palliated long ago. Our lives are littered with the right pills and the right pillows. We have therapeutic socks and smart mattresses. We have more advanced and available health care than most of the world, but poorer health. And with 5% of the world’s population, the United States consumes 95% of the world’s opioids. We are comfortably numb, but devoid of comfort.
Perhaps what we know about our children, we have failed to learn about ourselves. Maybe comfort is derived more from assurance than circumstance. Children gain assurance easily. They have an unshakable faith in their parent’s wisdom and power. Even when that faith is misplaced and disproven time and time again. The willingness of children to rest in their parent’s word is remarkable.
But as adults we are leery of trusting anyone but ourselves. And often, we don’t trust ourselves. Experience has jaded us. We have been burned. We have learned never to be at ease. Even when our mattress is perfect, our medications potent, and our climate control pleasing, rest eludes us. Real rest. Soul rest. The best we can do is to become comfortably numb. If only we could trust that Our Father has it all together, that His promises and power could be trusted, that his love for us was real.
Jeremiah spent four decades warning of Judah of judgment and exile. Through warning after warning, God called the people to turn back to Him, but they would not. They sought comfort down every path except the path of faith and repentance. But God did not forsake them. When hope seemed lost, God gave the prophet Jeremiah a word of comfort. In the midst of the longest, and most sorrowful book in the Bible, we find bright promises of God’s grace. Jeremiah 30-33 is often called the ‘Book of Consolation.’
Last week we examined Jeremiah 30 and considered how God consoles us in the midst of judgement. But to take comfort from God’s promises, we must receive them. We must believe them by faith. We must turn back to Him. We must rest in the assurance that Our Father has it all together. The Heidelberg Catechism underscores this as it begins its summary of Christian doctrine with the question.
What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready henceforth to live unto Him.Heidelberg Catechism, Question 1
With this assurance, we find comfort no matter what, whether in life or in death. Join us this week as we examine Jeremiah 31:1-30 and consider how God calls us to receive and experience the comfort He offers. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP.