Let that breath enter in…
Hold it!!!! Be still!!!!
Look up, look up!!!!!
Fix your eyes on Him.
You see, much better now…
Give it a second,
Let Him speak,
Open His Word and bow.
Comfort it is,
that you seek.
And comfort it is,
That He gives to the weak.
You’ll find it in one place alone,
When your eyes are weary,
And your mind heavy,
Look to Jesus, for His yoke is easy.
To others you’ll say,
I’ve been comforted by God in this way.
Breath of His presence in…
Now hold it and be still,
I know exactly how you feel.
Much was learned in it;
So breath out your worries to Him.
Look up, look up, my friend.
See there He is, you’ll say.
We’ll know Him better now,
And you can comfort another the same.
© 2012, Matt Camphuis all rights reserved.
From my Mind to Yours
One of the joys of poetry is trying to figure out what the author had intended to say to the audience, and typically poetry (as does all art) finds a way to take on a meaning for the person individually, if they allow it to.
That said though I think we have all wondered while reading a poem or staring at a work of art, ¨If I could only ask what that painter wanted to say…” Or “I wonder what he meant by that part…”. Every once in a while I will be taking one of my poems and explaining to you what was the heart behind why I wrote it and what Bible verses it came from. I still want you to gain your own application from the poems though, I wouldn´t want to ruin any way that it may have spoken to you, but my objective with poetry has always been to encourage and teach people through the medium of poetry.
What better place to start then than with “Encouragement”. “Encouragement” is a poem that expresses what it is like to be encouraged by God, and then how we are to take that encouragement and use it to encourage others in what God encouraged us in, with the hope that they would continue encouraging others with the encouragement they received.
The main verse that inspired me came from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 which says,
“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation.And our hope for you [is] steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also [you will partake] of the consolation.”
What does that mean?
Paul knew the comfort and mercies of God all too well, in fact here it is part of His title, the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort”. Showing mercy and comforting is part of who God is. Paul calls God blessed, and how can we not after we have known His mercy and comfort through sufferings? Paul states that God comforts us in all our tribulation, why? So that we may be able to comfort others, with the very same comfort we learned from God. When you learn something as a Christian you are expected to pass that knowledge on, and the same goes for comforting. When someone you love dies, and then God comforts you, use that comfort to comfort others who are grieving the death of a loved one. The goal is that the person you comfort would then comfort another, and so on and so forth with a never ending chain of comfort. This is the way that it should be and it should be what Christians are known for, since it is what God is known for.
Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God.
Heres the catch. If you never go to God for comfort in tribulation, you will never be able to effectively comfort others. Not only that, you won´t know the comfort of God in tribulation, and without the comfort of God this life is only misery and purposelessness. Going to a funeral or experiencing the death of a loved one is never easy, and despite what some Christians may tell you there is a grieving process and it is OK to experience sorrow. I am not proposing you fake joy, since faking is just another form of lying. Part of being human is grieving, and to know comfort in reality you must first know sorrow. For the Christian though funerals are much more bearable, provided that the loved one was a believer. They are comforted knowing that they have gone to truly rest in the peace of God. I have seen some of my family that does not know God completely destroyed and dismayed over the death of a loved one, while the other family members that knew God, although they grieved and experienced sorrow, grew spiritually tenfold through it.
Some will say, well I do not have much life experience so how can I comfort others? Or others may look down on you for not having much life experience. While experience is important, what is more important is experiencing Jesus. This is available and open to everyone, despite your life experience. You can always point people to Jesus, which is what you will have to do no matter your life experience since we all experience everything a little bit differently, even if you can somewhat relate. Beware though of the pride of experience, equally beware of the pride of not having experience, both can lead you and others into sin. When you can´t relate completely to what someone is going through you can still go to God to receive the words of comfort that someone else may need to hear, because God is the God of all comfort and He can relate even when you cannot. When you can´t relate, you can direct them to the One who can.
Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [points] tempted as [we are, yet] without sin”
Jesus knows how to empathize and sympathize with anything that you go through, since He was tempted in all ways as we are, being that He was fully human, while still being fully God. The only difference is that He lived a life of victory over sin. He knows what it is like to suffer in struggling against sin, but He knows how to win. Not only that, you have not resisted sin unto bloodshed like He has. What I mean by that is if you think you are going through the worst and no one can understand then you have not thought about how much Jesus went through. Your still alive right? Still breathing? Ok then you don´t know what death feels like. Jesus does. He can relate. He understands, and He can sympathize with you.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke [is] easy and My burden is light.”
The Bible encourages in 1 Corinthians 1 that as often as your suffering will abound, so will God´s comfort abound. In other words the more you suffer the more God will comfort; His comfort never runs out. Paul says that when he is afflicted it is for the sake of others, that he may pass on that comfort he received and more importantly that others would come to know Jesus and have eternal salvation as a direct affect of his suffering. Paul was willing to go through the worst sufferings planet earth had to offer, in hopes that some may experience the best blessings heaven had to offer. The strongest testimony is that of one who trusts and clings to God despite the worst circumstances. The world is left speechless at it.
Do you want to help others to know God better? Do you want to be comforted by God so you can comfort others? Do you want to be an effective Christian leader? Then rejoice in suffering, because it will school you in the comforts and mercies of God. Paul finishes his statement about comfort in verse 7 stating “And our hope for you [is] steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also [you will partake] of the consolation.” His hope for the church in Corinth was steadfast, he knew that they were going through sufferings, but he also knew that they would get the joy of partaking in the consolation (comfort) of God.
Acts 23:11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
When Paul was persecuted by his Hebrew brethren, by those whom he loved so much and those whom he desired to come to know the Messiah as he had, he became discouraged. Yet, the Lord stood by him. Imagine the comfort that would have brought Paul. He must have felt alone, alienated by his piers in the Sanhedrin, probably his former friends. The Lord comforted him though and told him to keep testifying and called him to do the same as he had done in Jerusalem at Rome. ¨Be of good cheer¨Jesus told Paul, I think just the presence of the Lord would have been enough, which may have been why the Lord didn’t tell him why he should be of good cheer.
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us”
The times that I treasure the most in my life, the memories that are most dear to me, are the ones when the Lord stood by me and comforted me during troubles and tribulations. Those times when I failed and sinned against God, and I was grieved in my soul and anguished by my wickedness, and God comforted me with His mercy. Those times where I was persecuted for righteousness sake and cried, desiring to give up, only to feel the very presence of Jesus Christ Himself, comforting me without a word spoken. Those are the times that I treasure the most, and I can say it was worth every bit of suffering, which was naught but a moment of time in comparison to the eternal joy that I will experience in heaven.
I have hope for you, that as you suffer you will experience the comfort of God. This hope is a confident expectation in the promise and ability of God, the God of all comfort and the Father of mercies, that He will comfort you in all your trouble, just as He has comforted me. So what are you waiting for, bring your troubles before the throne of grace and then comfort others with that same grace which you are bound to find.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.