Where Do I Go to Find Comfort?

Elijah Finding Comfort

Pain and comfort are at opposite extremes. Lingering in either place too long can be destructive to our bodies as well as our souls.

If you enjoy exercise and working out, you know what it’s like to go through short-term pain in order to gain long-term comfort. But no one wants to endure unrelenting pain. I am a survivor of two kidney stones. Those of us in that elite club of ‘stoners’ know the torture of unrelenting pain. I could never compare the pain to childbirth, but at least we expect the end result of that experience to be a wonderful new baby.

While kidney stone pain can quickly hit a level ten on the pain chart, the worst aspect is that the pain can last for hours without a moment of relief. The experience reminds me of living through our Minnesota winters! We can endure periods of extreme cold, but why do winters have to last 8 months? But as bad as those pain experiences may be, they can’t compare to the unrelenting pain of losing a loved one. It’s a permanent pain that never actually goes away.

The loss of our son Elijah has led me to ask more than once, “Where do I go to find comfort?” I observe that all living things naturally seek comfort. Cats have elevated comfort-seeking to an art. So why is it so hard to find comfort when we are thrust into situations of intense pain and discomfort?

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, experienced the tragic loss of their young son. He found great comfort in the following verse of scripture:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

We find that God is our ultimate comforter, no matter what our trouble or pain. But we are never comforted just to be comfortable. We are comforted so that we will know how to comfort others. I find great hope and purpose in that truth.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with God when our kids were younger. We had traveled as a family to Daytona Beach for Spring Break, but the weather was chilly. As a Minnesotan, I was determined to enjoy whatever sun and warmth I could get. I was the only person poolside, and I’m sure everyone thought I was out of my mind. As I lay on my lounge chair shivering, I found brief moments of relief from the wind and the clouds whenever the sun would break through. But as quickly as the sun would warm me, a cloud would cover it. Without the sun, the breeze would chill me to the bone. I would look to the sky to time my periods of relief when I could see that the clouds would unveil the sun.

I began to complain to God. I knew that the name ‘Holy Spirit’ meant holy pneuma, or holy wind. And I knew that Jesus described the Holy Spirit as our Comforter. So I challenged God, saying, “You’re supposed to be The Comforter, but your Holy Wind is making me very uncomfortable!” I wasn’t prepared for a response from God, but I can never forget what I heard at that very moment. I heard, “Yes, I am The Comforter. But my job is not to make you comfortable. My job is to increase your desire for The Son!”

Needless to say, I stopped complaining. And the best I can do in times of pain and trouble is to point people to The Son.


Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

-Ken Buchanan

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