“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
“Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6).
“Nevertheless, God, who comforts the downcast” – what a beautiful description of our compassionate Father! Just when we feel that he is most distant from us, he is especially near to those who are discouraged, dejected, despondent, depressed, or even despairing.
In the past couple of weeks, I have conversed or corresponded with friends deep in grief and sorrow over marital conflicts; injured, ill, depressed, or wayward children; chronic illness; aging parents; fear of the future, and a variety of other afflictions. Often our suffering is compounded by the absence of people who really understand us or, if they do, can simply do nothing for us.
“Nevertheless, GOD”! He can and does comfort us. Sometimes he sends people like Titus, who encouraged Paul with the news of the Corinthians’ love for him. Sometimes he reminds us through the Scriptures of how he has comforted his people throughout the ages, especially Christ, who has gone before us through the valley of the shadow of death (see Romans 15:3-5; Hebrews 12:2-3).
Sometimes, he assuages our sorrow through the direct ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter (Paraclete; see John 14:16-18; 16:6-7, 13-15; Romans 8:26). At all times, he is the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation [afflictions], that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).