In an especially difficult stretch of time, much like this past twelve months, we can grow weary of the strain and struggle. When seasons suddenly end or we are sidelined with a sickness, our athletic dreams hit pause and we wrestle with what to do and where to do with such a new reality.
Times of turmoil take us closer to the core of our emotions and bring us to the One who can comfort us in affliction.
“He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.” (Isaiah 53:3)
If we are to find comfort, we must first look to the Comforter who relates to us with a fully God, fully human experience.
Jesus experienced grief and discomfort during His time on earth. All around Him was suffering, tears, fear and injustice. In a society where it was acceptable to distance oneself from the pain, Jesus took a step forward and embraced the messiness of relationships, betrayal, isolation and death. He chose a tough trail because He wanted to be close to us.
Because of the love compelling Him forward, Jesus chose the way of the cross, took our suffering and made it His own. And when He defeated death, He returned to Heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God the Father and acts as mediator, our High Priest, constantly bringing our prayers before God and praying for us, too.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:14-15)
Jesus took a step forward and embraced the messiness of relationships, betrayal, isolation and death. He chose a tough trail because He wanted to be close to us.
Because Jesus walked the earth and experienced the spectrum of human emotion, He understands and sympathizes with our pain. We are not alone in our loneliness, our fear, our anger, our hopelessness or any other emotion. And when we don’t know how to properly express all that’s going on, we look to the Lord to lift us up in prayer through the Holy Spirit.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
What’s neat about the comfort we receive from God through prayer is that when we are full of the love He has for us and the assurance of His presence, we get to turn and offer that same comfort to a teammate who may feel lost, or a family member who needs a word of hope. Through God, the Source of all our comfort, we pour out the healing balm of presence and empathy to the people around us so they experience the reassurance of Christ.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
One way to get in God’s Word is to have it delivered straight to your inbox with FCA’s Daily Impact Play, a lineup of devotionals by coaches, athletes, staff and volunteers that share how to live out God’s word in our lives.
Want to learn more about praying God’s Word? Head to FCA in Action and read our February Pursue articles:
Anchor Article: Connected: Pray the Truth
Article Two: Dialogue: Prayer Connects