December 3, 2018
365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 3: Comforter
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you forever." (John 14:16 ASV)
God the Spirit is sometimes referred to as the Comforter, and I always thought of that in terms of a warm fuzzy blanket or as someone who soothes. But in her lovely devotional for children of all ages, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, Sally Lloyd-Jones tells the story of a centuries-old tapestry that shows a knight on a horse with the caption, "Bishop Odo comforts his troops." Lloyd-Jones writes, "Is Bishop Odo giving them nice fluffy quilts? No. He's prodding them from behind with a stick! NOT comfy. But Odo is spurring them on, encouraging them, urging them to keep going and not give up. Because comfort in the Bible doesn't mean 'to make comfy.' It means 'to send help.' When we want to give up, when we are afraid, God sends his Spirit—the Comforter—to make us strong, to give us courage, to lift us up."
I do believe God often "comforts" us in the other ways we think of when we read that word: He tenderly consoles us and lovingly eases our heartache. And no doubt we'll see that aspect of "comfort" reflected in several of His great names. But this name of God and the aspect of the Holy Spirit it reveals remind us that God is our Help, our Strength, our Courage. Even if sometimes, it feels like He's prodding us.