Draw Close to God
“The God of All Comfort”
MANY things in life—suffering, disappointment, loneliness—can bring sadness, even despair. At such times you may wonder, ‘Where can I turn for help?’ The words of the apostle Paul found at 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 point to an unfailing source of comfort—Jehovah God.
In verse 3, God is called “the Father of tender mercies.” What does that mean? The Greek word rendered “tender mercies” can convey the idea of feeling compassion for the sufferings of others.* One Bible reference work says that this term may be rendered “feels pity” or “cares very much.” God’s “tender mercies” move him to act. Knowing this aspect of God’s personality makes us want to draw close to him, does it not?
Paul also refers to Jehovah as “the God of all comfort.” Here Paul uses a word that is said to include “the idea of consoling someone in trouble or sorrow and the idea of giving active help or encouragement.” The Interpreter’s Bible explains: “We comfort a sufferer when we give him courage to bear his pain.”
You may ask, ‘How does God comfort us and give us the courage to bear our pain?’ He does so mainly through his Word, the Bible, and through the gift of prayer. Paul tells us that God lovingly gives us His Word so that “through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” Additionally, through heartfelt prayers, we can come to experience “the peace of God that excels all thought.”—Romans 15:4; Philippians 4:7.
To what extent does Jehovah comfort his people? Paul says that God “comforts us in all our tribulation.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) No matter what pressure, anguish, or suffering we may experience, God can give us the necessary courage and strength to bear up. Is that not reassuring?
The comfort God gives does not end with the one receiving it. Paul goes on to say that God comforts us so that “we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God.” Having received comfort in our tribulation, we are helped to have empathy for others and moved to extend a helping hand to those in need.
As “the God of all comfort,” Jehovah does not necessarily make our problems or pain disappear. Yet, of this we can be sure: If we turn to him for comfort, he can fortify us to cope with any sorrow or trouble that life may bring. Such a compassionate God surely deserves our worship and praise.
God is called “the Father [or, source] of tender mercies” because compassion emanates from him and is part of his nature.