The need for comfort is as basic a need as any of the essentials: love, relationship, food, shelter. We discovered very early in our lives that no one escapes suffering at various times and in various ways through life.
Yet we respond to suffering, grief, failure, the grit of life with help from God. The path of faith shows us how to find comfort in God and to understand how He comforts us in an ever-present way.
This was just as true for Jesus as it is for us. He came to save us, yes, and with Christ we share communion with him when we share in the suffering inherent in human life. Jesus did not avoid pain. He came into the world and made our pain His pain. He promised not that we would no longer suffer, but that He, God, would be with us. A comfort that tells us, “you are never alone.” St. Paul tells the Corinthians, “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too” (2 Cor. 1:5). Like Christ, we trust in faith that our sorrow in this life will be replaced with eternal joy in the next.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit."
Keeping life after death—eternal life—at the front of our mind and spirit is part of understanding the comfort of God. At the heart of this we need to stay focused on how our suffering can lead to growth. On the journey to God, suffering becomes a building block for us. This may require asking a healthy “why?” in times of trouble but avoiding dwelling on “why me?” Instead we are asking, in faith, what it is we are meant to learn and how we are meant to draw closer to God through our pain. Then listening for answers, which come in the form of tranquility and peace.
Even though difficult circumstances can lead us to feel abandoned, lost, exhausted with life, part of faith is believing in the unchanging nature of God’s goodness: God’s comfort for us, being together with us, is there through it all and is even born directly out of hardship.
This may well be the essence of the Holy Spirit. Dwelling within us at all times, this spirit of God makes holy that which may feel far from that. Comfort can be taken from the understanding that our foundation as a human is the spirit, and that spirit is holy, and that holiness is the God of
comfort and peace.