When your life is overcast with storm clouds of evil and pain—with the power and effects of sin, and the glory, light, and warmth of the Son (of God) are eclipsed, where do you look for comfort?
The sun can serve as a powerful illustration of God the Son (Ps 84:11a).
God is glorified when we are comforted in understanding His lovingkindness and tender care for us—and the constancy of it.
The blazing glory of the sun neither waxes nor wanes, yet from our perspective, estranged from God beneath the gloomy clouds of a fallen world, we often cannot understand the purposes of God in our trials. We do not see the glory of the Son. We often do not see the light or goodness of God in the midst of stormy darkness, though it is as brilliant as ever. We often do not feel the warmth of His tender love as the cold drops of difficulty fall, though it is blazing as ever before. All is obscured by the storm. But we must not measure the power of the sun by our experience on earth. Indeed, it is easy to declare the goodness of God in sunny-day conditions.
Perhaps the most emotionally perplexing of all is knowing that storm clouds form under the power of the sun. If it were not for the sun, there would be no storms—but neither would there be life.
The gods and philosophies of man’s invention seek to comfort us in our storms with self-made hopes of escape. So great is the desire to evade the pain that alerts our hearts to the fallen condition of the present life, that men and women exhaust themselves in pursuing a final and ultimate escape of consciousness, passion, and experience. Or they employ their intellectual powers to convince themselves that life is a fiction; not much different from a child who buries their head under pillows to make the thunder and lightning go away.
We should be comforted in Christ. All other thoughts about life and death are confounded with no solution to evil; with no relationship, no personhood, and no love worth hoping in and living for. More than this, these thoughts cannot comfort because they themselves run from evil and pain, exhibiting no power over the storm. The icons of the world’s religions are themselves escapists.
In Christ, and Christ alone, does God enter into pain and suffering without ceasing to blaze in sovereign power. Only in Christ does God descend beneath the stormy clouds of our fallen condition (Jn 3:13) as a beam of life-giving glorious sunlight (Jn 1:4-9) in order to destroy the works of the storm forever (1 Jn 3:8). His love is greater than the greatest storm and His purposes do not evade evil. God is not an escapist—we should find comfort in that.
Repeatedly Christ foretells His disciples of His impending crucifixion (Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19), so that when it comes they will find comfort in knowing that even this was not outside of His knowledge or control (Jn 14:29). The greatest of evils—was not outside of His knowledge or control.
He pursued us by descending through the clouds of our storm. And He comforts us in the knowledge that He has personally taken on the greatest storm. He reminds us that until He brings all things to final consummation, storms will continue, but He tells us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).
His disciples could find comfort in Him through the darkest of experiences, and know that He was not of victim—the Son was not destroyed by the storm. Nor did He forsake them—the Son did not run away; the clouds obscured their sight. With tender care and love He was working all things together for their good (Rom 8:28)—even through the greatest of storms.
We are so prone to lose sight of the Son, especially when dark storms overcast our soul. The Lord does not leave us without practical help; He tells us where to look for comfort:
1. We must believe in Christ, to frame our thoughts and our perspective not from within the storm but in view of the solar system of our lives. We must believe in the gospel and that it is sufficient to comfort us in our daily lives. By taking care of our greatest need, Christ comforts us in every need. Where do we look for comfort? In Christ and Him crucified.
2. We must preach to ourselves, to lift our thoughts above the clouds. As the psalmist cried out, so should we: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation” (Ps 42:5, 11; 43:5). We must ride the sunbeam of Christ right up through the thick veil of our stormy troubles—that sunbeam that comes down from heaven and raises us above the clouds. Where do we look for comfort? In the hope of God availed in Christ.
3. We must direct our thoughts to remember the goodness of the Lord, to remember and acknowledge past days of sunshine (Ps 42:4, 6). As the psalmist cried out, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart” (Ps 77:6) and “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (Ps 77:11). Where do we look for comfort? In the testimonies of God revealed in His written word.
4. We must resolve to hope in the future and rejoice in God’s promises, to believe that this storm will pass and look forward to the glory of the Sonshine again. “Yes, the Lord will give what is good” (Ps 85:12). Christ grounds His greatest consolation for the present life in the next. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:1-3). Where do we look for comfort? In the promises of God revealed in His written word and secured through Christ to be realized in finally and fully in heaven.
May we have the faith to say, like the Apostle Paul, “I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Cor 7:4).
Calmer of my troubled heart,
Bid my unbelief depart;
Speak, and all my sorrows cease;
Speak, and all my soul is peace;
And till I Thy glory see,
Help me to believe in Thee.