Growing up as a two-year old I had two notably important figures in my life, my pillow and blankie. Hand made by my mother, they held more sentimental value than any other belonging I ever had. Any time we would go for a ride in our old 1990 Dodge Ram Van, these friends joined us. Anytime I laid down for a nap, we were inseparable. When I was fearful or frightened, I would grasp onto these objects like a brother or sister. They brought me comfort when none would. That all changed when I turned four. Our family was blessed to have another member join our family – my younger brother Alex. One conversation I remember clearly was my conversation concerning the coveted pillow and blankie. I was going to give them up to my younger brother. I had to find a new object to bring me comfort.
Fast forward, I still cling onto things for comfort – they just turn out to be way more effective than mere objects, and arguably the most overlooked. Perhaps getting comfort from these people and things is one reason that we sometimes forget or fail to seek comfort from the most extraordinary person in our lives: Jesus.
It’s funny that some of the most ordinary things can bring us comfort. Our own bed, when we have been away from it for a while, can seem like a full body hug of comfort. Food can bring comfort too, like that special dish that our mom or dad makes that only comes out right when he or she makes it. Sometimes all it takes for the whole world to seem better is a favorite pair of jeans or a favorite old tee-shirt. When we go through something that shakes us, that causes us pain, we need to remember that Jesus is available to us right where we are if we will just turn to Him.
Jesus came to Mary and Martha after Lazarus had already died. Martha went to meet Jesus, and He comforted her. Then she went to Mary and encouraged her to go to Jesus, and He comforted her. Jesus felt and shared their pain and He joined them in sorrow, weeping with them. Why did He weep if He knew what was about to happen? Was He acting? Playing for the crowd? No. He was comforting them by joining them in their grief and He will do the same for us. We often only think of Jesus when we want a miracle. Martha and Mary both say to Jesus, “If only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
But before the extraordinary and miraculous, Jesus’ actions are humble, simple, and loving. He reminds Martha of the promises of God through scripture. He joins them in weeping. He goes with them to the grave. Then He raises Lazarus. But Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus to comfort Mary and Martha. He didn’t even do it for Lazarus. He did it, “…for the sake of all those standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” (John 11:43) Go to Him for comfort before you go for a miracle. Seek comfort in prayer, by reading God’s Word, and by simply reminding yourself that you aren’t alone. Jesus comforted Martha and Mary and He will comfort you as well.
“‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 (NLT)
“Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalm 119:50 (NLT)
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)