Lately, I’ve needed to be reminded of the truth that God comforts us…even in the chaos and even in the unfamiliar. Throughout my travels, I’ve often found myself in unfamiliar territories, places, and cities. I’ve stepped out of a public bus or the metro line and not recognized a single building or able to read a single sign. But that never stopped me from planning my net adventure, which must have meant that somehow I was able to find comfort in the Lord in the most unfamiliar places and chaotic times of my life.
So coronavirus shouldn’t be any different, right?
God comforts us in different ways
Some of those unfamiliar places I mentioned above were the churches that I attended while living abroad. I attended a Hillsong while I was in Marseille and also Baptist Church number #102 (cent-deux, they called it). When I traveled to Geneva, I attended a church (attend is a strong word, we actually got kicked out of that church for unknown reasons–another story for another time), and visited a nondenominational church in Cambridge, UK. In Andorra, I often worshipped in the small room of a catholic church where about 15 members of an Anglican church would gather every two weeks.
In all of these experiences, I’ve really grown to appreciate the global church body, and the opportunity to learn and worship God in different ways. Especially because I realize that God comforts us in different ways as well. I was surprised to find comfort in the Lord from corporate readings and recitations. This was something that I don’t remember doing in the baptist church I attended until I went to college.
My introduction to corporate readings
So, the first time I experienced corporate readings abroad so regularly at the tiny Anglican church in Andorra, it was strange. Not only was it strange, but it didn’t really mean anything to me. The words were nice, sure, and the 15 people at the church read them together, cool, but why exactly were we doing this?
I definitely didn’t appreciate corporate readings during my time in Andorra, but it also wasn’t the last time I’d do one!
It wasn’t until much later down the road, after my Fulbright, I was starting to miss all the things about Andorra–the good, the bad, and even the ugly. I was visiting a church in the US (which I realized that trying a church where you know no one either in your home country or a foreign country is about the same level of nervousness–just FYI.)
At this particular church during our young professional gathering, to my surprise, we paused in the middle of worship to do one of those corporate readings. I ended up attending this church, so I’ve done many more of these, but this first one is the one that really sticks out in my mind.
Spiritual Words of Comfort
It is a Faith Confession from Heidelberg Catechism Question 1, which is “Christian, what is your only comfort in life and in death?”
At that point in my life (and right now as well having to self-quarantine due to the coronavirus while still hearing about all of the awful things that the virus is doing), I don’t even think I knew what comfort was. And I most certainly didn’t know how to be comforted or get comfort or find comfort in the Lord. Was there a magic formula I was missing or a special prayer that I needed to say?
And then, along with everyone else, I read the response, which says:
Christian what is your only comfort in life and in death?
“That I am not my own, but belong— body and soul, in life and in death— to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
“He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
“Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
God comforts us through Jesus
When I first read the response, I was floored, overwhelmed with thankfulness for Christ and the cross.
In its essence, the response to the question is a product of the gospel–it all really comes back to the cross. The beginning reminds me that God has demonstrated the depth and power of His love for me by going to the cross and buying me back at the highest price to Him. He did all of that to buy back my body and soul from condemnation.
That is the comfort that I was seeking. Before when I was unsaved and in sin, I needed comfort from the tyranny of sin and the devil.
Then the second part of the response speaks to after salvation: “He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven.”
This is actually my favorite part of the response. I’m a fairly visual person so that image of God being completely in control and sovereign and all-powerful to the point that I can not lose even a hair from my head unless it’s in His Will–that is what ultimately brought me comfort the first day I heard this corporate reading.
Find comfort in the chaos
And I believe it’s how God comforts us now during coronavirus as well. “In fact, all things must work together for my salvation.”
That includes coronavirus. That includes self-quarantining. It includes the pain of being separated from my friends. Even the heartache of feeling like I can’t do anything to improve the situation.
I come back to this response and Romans 5:8: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (TLB)
I find comfort in the Lord, and I am comforted by knowing that the same God that sent Christ for me while I was still a sinner is the same God that watches over me so closely that not a hair can fall from my head unless He allows it. And although He allowed coronavirus to enter our world, He also is still watching over me, His child redeemed by Christ’s death on the cross.
Ultimately, I am comforted because I know the One who is in control of this storm. So I pray, may God comfort us.
A song for comfort
If corporate readings aren’t your cup of tea, I found the same reminder of God’s comfort in this song by Sandra McCracken, titled “Sweet Comfort.”
In times of high stress, great distress, or even little anxiety, I always listen to this song to remind myself that God comforts us. He is comforting us.
Let me know what you think of the song! What other songs remind you to be seeking comfort in God? In what other ways do you find comfort in the Lord?
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out these other posts! Seeking comfort means:
- relying on faith,
- speaking to God often through prayer,
- remembering that God is sovereign; and
- learning from the “chaos” in life, like what the coronavirus can teach us.
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