“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Several years ago, I was in one of those deep discussions with a trusted friend that takes place late at night; the kind of discussion that results when two hearts have no fear of the other person and there is freedom to discuss profound ideas and intimate feelings. This friend is the quintessential business woman, intelligent, resourceful, well educated and well spoken. In the course of our discussion, I asked her, “How do you receive comfort when you are hurting?” For a few moments she was silent and she looked utterly perplexed, not even able to answer; she kept repeating the word comfort with a tone of confusion as though I had given her a word in a foreign language. This simple word, “comfort” left her profoundly mystified.
Strictly defined, “comfort” means relief in affliction, solace, or consolation. It can mean to soothe, console, or reassure. For those of you who read my last blog, I left off with this question: how was I going to be comforted in my pain and begin the process of removing the yoke of over-eating? I also solicited your thoughts on how to answer this question, and to those of you who have responded, I thank you. But in returning to the question, we all know the “good girl” answer is God and His word. I must be willing to turn to Him for comfort, rather than putting my head back into the yoke of over-eating. When I’m hurting and feeling bad, I read Scripture (especially Psalms) in my search for solace and pray crying out to God in my pain. But sometimes this just doesn’t relieve my affliction.
The truth is, sometimes I want God to have skin on so that I can see and touch Him. That’s why relationships with people are so necessary. Job’s friends knew this. Paul understood that same need for comfort and we read of many different relationships in his letters: Titus, Justus, John-Mark, Timothy, and others, and the comfort he received from them. In John 11:19, there is a reference to the fact that many Jews had come to offer comfort to Mary and Martha in the loss of their brother Lazarus.
Therefore, I’m realizing that I need to reach out to my intimate friends when I need comfort. And boy is that difficult! I despise feeling so vulnerable! What if no one wants to comfort me? What if no one wants to hear me? What if no one has time for me? What if, what if…this is the crux of the matter. Maybe it is time to take the risk and ask for the help of my dear friends instead of numbing out with food. The truth is, the numbness wears off but the pounds do not! Or at least, the pounds only come off after a lot of hard work. But the feelings will return and I will be back where I started, alone and hurting. God has provided me with incredible friends (you all know who you are) and I am profoundly grateful for these friends. So, I must be willing to take the risk, reach out, and receive the comfort they are willing to give me. When all is said and done, I’d rather take the risk than to put my head back into the yoke!