When our brethren, friends, or family members are suffering, do they find real comfort from us? When we’re suffering, do we find real comfort from them? When Job needed comfort, his friends felt compelled to explain why he was suffering. Job said, “I have heard many such things; sorry comforters are you all.” (Job 16:2).
When Hannah was saddened by her barrenness, her brilliant husband tried to cheer her up: “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (1 Sam. 1:8).
Proverbs 25:20 says, “Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day…is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.” When David suffered, he said, “I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.” (Ps. 69:20b).
Here’s real comfort: “Then they sat down on the ground with Job for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.” (Job 2:13). “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) “Weep with those who weep.” (Rom. 12:15). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26a).
Real comfort doesn’t give advice or explanation, doesn’t try to cheer up, to tell them to look on the bright side or that we know exactly how they feel. Real comfort sits silently alongside the sufferer and says, “I am so sorry you’re hurting and I’m here for you.”
Maybe you’re the one who needs comfort right now, but you haven’t found any. I am truly sorry and I cannot imagine how you feel. My heart hurts to know you’re hurting, the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3) hurts to know you’re hurting, and I’m praying for you.