Comfort That Overflows
My father died. There is no easy way of saying it—no easy way of broaching the subject. It is even more difficult to accept and process in my mind. Untold numbers of other people have found themselves in the same position. Some of those are reading these words right now. Where do we turn? What makes it easier? It has been a few weeks now and my four-year-old still cries for "paw paw" as she presses his picture against her cheek to feel close to him. Maybe we should try not to think about him. Maybe that would make it easier. But I know that this will not work because I see him in my actions and I hear him in my words. Answers do not come easy.
My father was not a man that was easily comforted and assured by words or friendly counsel. He was fidgety, high-strung and given to worrying about things that pertained to his family. He did not become a Christian until later in life and when he did there was much to work through and much with which he had to come to terms in his faith.
He had been in failing health for years, yet the news of his death was sudden and unexpected. My mother told us that it was about midnight when she checked on him to see how he was feeling. He asked her to sit down on the bedside as he began to express his feeling for her and make some personal comments. He asked about all the children and then told her that it was time that she got on with her life. He told her that he was tired and had asked the Lord to "take him on." She tried to dismiss his words about dying, but it was more than a dying man sorting through his thoughts. Something was different. Having finished expressing his thoughts, he then went back to sleep and about an hour later he was gone.
Of all that I have been told, the fact that he was calm, peaceful, and assured at the end of his life is the most comforting. I suppose that when the time comes we all want our loved ones to leave this life in a similar manner. And yet, it was not just that his death was painless—that was a comfort to me—it was also that his heart and mind was at peace. For me, this was one of the only two things that were able to offset the pain in my heart. The other contributing factor was the comfort that only God can give.
The loss of someone we love is difficult and nothing will ever make that easy; however if you have experienced something similar allow me to share the words of the Apostle Paul with you. He writes, "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 have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV
I believe that through the Holy Spirit, the "God of all comfort" comforted my father at his death and He now comforts me after his death. Of all the experiences that my father and I shared this act of being comforted by God is the most precious of all. And so it is with these words I try to comfort others "with the comfort... (I) have received from God." May God's comfort so fill your heart that it overflows into the life of someone else in search of comfort.