What is comfort? Have you ever wondered?
Sitting here in my favorite overstuffed armchair, wrapped in my fluffy pink robe, you might say these are comfort.
While these are very nice to have, it’s not the kind of comfort I am thinking of today. Still, I hope you don’t mind if I snuggle in as I write. No need to waste a good, cozy armchair, right? Glad we agree!
Now, that that’s settled…
The comfort I’m pondering, put simply, is the kind we cry for when we are grieving. There are many reasons to grieve in this world. Today, mine is the grief of losing a loved one.
My Dad passed away on December 21st. We were very close, and I have been searching for comfort most every day since then; just small portions of my Dad to get me through for the big moments of loss.
When it’s a cry-yourself-to-sleep kind of night, my heart heavy with grief, I reach for the blue knit hat I made for Dad for Christmas. I brought it to him in the hospital, pretending Christmas had come early. Because it sat on his head, I now snuggle it onto mine, trying to get back the touch and presence of my Dad. Somehow this brings back a piece of what I have lost.
It brings me comfort.
At the end of my kitchen table, I placed a big picture of my Dad right where he used to sit for family dinners. I see his smiling face when I come home and greet him like I used to.
“Hi there, Daddy-Do!”
I want to remember this face instead of the memory of him in a hospital bed. Me, trying to regain some of what I have lost: his eyes twinkling, his face smiling, and his daily presence.
And it brings me comfort.
Friends, as you are walking through this with me, you may be feeling a loss of your own. Grief of any kind makes a hole in us. Please know that I understand and we walk together.
Most of us have these holes in our hearts created just by going through life; the loss of a loved one, an estrangement, a job you loved and lost, or maybe hopes that have been taken away. As simple as it sounds, I think we reach for these small comforts to fill a corner of the hole.
Maybe that’s what comfort is, an effort and a craving to fill the hole and bring back some of what we have lost, with a blue knit hat, a picture at the table or a friend who understands.
It is a comfort, too, that I believe Dad has been restored and is dancing and running in heaven. He has been taken back to a place of joy. Even though I can’t have my Dad back here on earth, I do find comfort that he is in God’s loving hands.
Those same Hands gave me Psalm 23 to read to Dad in the months before he passed. It brought so much comfort to both of us. I want to share one part that really helps me now as I grieve.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”
Picture with me God as the Good Shepherd. Providing. Restoring. Guiding. Comforting.
When I trust in Him, I am always loved and cared for in any state of need.
Whatever “valley of the shadow of death” you are grieving, God is there. You do not walk alone even in the darkest of times. God is a better bringer of comfort and peace.
The idea of the “…Your rod and your staff, they comfort me…” has always captured my attention. So I did what every red-blooded American does, I googled it!
“Mr. Google” told me how traditional shepherds use a rod and staff. The rod is a long, straight stick used to guard his sheep from predators. Can you see God walking, watching and protecting us?
And the staff is long stick with a hook or crook at the end used to guide and direct the sheep. The shepherd even uses the staff to lift and return small lambs who have lost their mothers. That touches my heart! And yes, it comforts me.
Friends, are you craving comfort? Are you grieving a loss or disappointment? Are you searching for some measure of comfort to heal the hole and bring your heart back to being whole again?
Then try this comfort on for size, friends. Wrap yourself in a soft fuzzy robe, cozy into your favorite chair, and open up the Bible, possibly to Psalm 23. See God like I see him, the Shepherd of my heart that protects, guides and comforts and always brings me back to His peace.