As humans, we desperately search for comfort. Hotels, cars, furniture, clothes, even foods, all advertise and try to lure us in because of the comfort that they provide. We long for comfort. We long for true fellowship and the comfort that it brings.
We struggle to find it in ourselves and in each other. So we look for it in things. And we look for it in God’s other creatures. Comfort animals have become the latest “in” thing. No one asks to bring a comfort human with them wherever they go, but there are plenty of requests for comfort peacocks, comfort rabbits, comfort bearded dragons, and, of course, comfort dogs. In the last several years, the numbers of individuals carrying comfort dogs in their arms, or on leashes or in crates, wherever they go has greatly increased — why? They help fill our need for comfort. They don’t talk back. They don’t judge. They are fully present and attentive with us. They appear to love us even when we feel like no one else does. Even when we feel like we don’t deserve it.
We so long for that comfort, and we so often miss the mark as to where to find it. As usual, we have it backwards. We look to a comfort d-o-g, when we should be looking to G-o-d.
Throughout the Bible, we are reminded where we can take comfort. King David frequently rejoices in God’s comfort in his psalms:
My soul rests in God alone,
from whom comes my salvation.
God alone is my rock and salvation,
my fortress; I shall never fall.
St. Paul also rejoices in the comfort of our Lord who has enriched us with spiritual gifts and provided us with grace through Jesus:
I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus [Christ]. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
We don’t need a new car, or the softest fabric. We don’t need a certified comfort animal. God will keep us firm to the end. He alone is our rock and our salvation. Where our human comfort fails, God is faithful and by him we are called to fellowship with Jesus. It is only through Him that we truly find peace, rest and comfort. How did David and Paul know this? Because God tells us. He told Moses and Joshua (and tells us):
Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.
He told us again through his son, Jesus:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
Although this world may make us feel alone and afraid, God is always with us. He has spoken back to us, in a good way, through His word. If we truly turn to him, we will find ourselves buried in His chest before we can even fully turn around, because He is in fact that close. He is the peace and the comfort that we crave. He is always fully present and attentive with us. He loves us even when we feel like no one else does. Even when we feel like we don’t deserve it.
You are my rock and my salvation. You are my comfort and my peace. When I am lost and afraid, help me to remember to turn to you. I want you to be my comfort. I want to rest in your arms. Thank you for telling us time and time again that you are here. Help us to listen, every day and particularly when we need it most. It is so easy to get lost in this world. Thank you for all of your beautiful creation, including the animals that bring us comfort, and all of mankind. Help us to do a better job of bringing each other comfort (through love and fellowship rather than material things). Help us always know that true comfort comes when we turn to you, when we are in fellowship with you. I want to live in that fellowship. I want others to share in that fellowship. Help me to bring your love and comfort to others.