Monday, July 21, 2008

A Trio of Consolation

"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." (Isaiah 66:13)

In the ideal situation, it is the mother in the home who provides comfort to its occupants, in much the same way the Holy Spirit brings comfort to the heart of a believer (Jno.14:26). Unless this inclination has been stifled somehow in childhood, or by a disdain for the feminine role, in general, I think all women possess a need to console and nurture. Whether she has children of her own or not, a woman's "mother-heart" is drawn to a crying child or a hurting soul. And her first impulse will be to gather them into her arms, next to her heart.

The emotion most like this, and which a father may possess, is pity. We read in Psalm 103:13, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." This is as it should be, for it is the father who will make the hard decisions and prod the children to try a little harder and go a little farther. Because of this, he will always run the risk of being too rigorous in his training, at times; and it is then that an ability to show pity will be greatly appreciated!

But if our heavenly Father shows us pity, and the Holy Spirit is our source of comfort, what does God, the Son, bring this Trio of Consolation? Why empathy, of course. The ability to experience as own the feelings of another. Hebrews 7:26 tells us that Jesus did not simply reach out from where He was to comfort and show us pity; He actually came where we were. He "became us." So now,we can be assured that the great heart that wept at the grave of a friend (Jno.11:35), and over a doomed city (Luke 19:41), is also "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb.4:15).

In the three Personalities of my God, I have the comfort of a mother, the pity of a father, and the empathy of a brother. Supernatural solace for inconsolable grief--what a thing! No wonder the songwriter wrote:

Come ye disconsolate, where-e'er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat; fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts; here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav'n cannot heal.

--Thomas Moore

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