So Much Need for Comfort!
“Look! the tears of those being oppressed, but they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, so that they had no comforter.”—ECCLESIASTES 4:1.
ARE you looking for comfort? Are you yearning for a ray of consolation to break through the dark clouds of despair? Are you craving a crumb of solace to sweeten a life marred by bitter suffering and unsavory experiences?
At one time or another, we all sorely need comfort and encouragement. This is because there are so many things in life that bring sadness. We all need to be sheltered, warmed, embraced. Some of us have grown old and are not happy about that. Others are deeply disappointed that life has not turned out as was hoped. Still others have been shaken by a report that has come back from a pathology lab.
Moreover, few would contest that events in our time have created a vast need for comfort and hope. During the past century alone, more than a hundred million people have died in war. * Almost all of them left behind a grieving family—mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, widows and orphans—in desperate need of solace. Today, over a billion people live in extreme poverty. Half the world’s population lack regular access to medical treatment and essential drugs. On the streets of polluted megacities wander millions of abandoned children, many of whom use drugs and practice prostitution. Millions of refugees languish in horrible camps.
However, numbers—as compelling as they may be—do not bespeak the individual pain and affliction that some are experiencing in their personal life. Consider, for instance, Svetlana, a young woman from the Balkans who was born into abject poverty. * “In order to get money,” she says, “I was sent out by my parents to beg or steal. Family life deteriorated to the point that I became a victim of incest. I found work as a waitress, and my mother, who received the money I was earning, said that if I ever lost my job, she would kill herself. All of this led me to a life of prostitution. I was only 13 years old. In time, I became pregnant and had an abortion. At 15 years of age, I looked like a 30-year-old.”
Laimonis, a young man from Latvia, tells of the need for comfort and of the dark memories that caused him to be grim. At the age of 29, he had a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He felt completely hopeless and turned to alcohol. Five years later he was a wreck—a paralyzed alcoholic with no future. From where could he draw comfort?
Or think of Angie. Her husband underwent three brain surgeries that had at first left him partially paralyzed. Then, five years after the last surgery, he was in a very serious accident, one that could have killed him. As his wife entered the emergency room and saw her husband lying there in a coma after having sustained a very serious head injury, she knew that a tragedy was impending. The road ahead for her and her family was going to be rough. How could she find support and encouragement?
For Pat, a winter day some years ago seemed to start off normally. The next three days, however, have been erased from her memory. Her husband later told her that after having severe chest pains, she went into full cardiac arrest. Her heart started beating very rapidly and erratically, and then it stopped beating altogether. Her breathing stopped. “I was actually clinically dead,” says Pat. But she somehow survived. Of her long stay in the hospital, she says: “I was frightened by many of the tests, especially when they tried to make my heart fibrillate and stop, as it had done originally.” What could provide her with the needed solace and relief during this critical time?
Joe and Rebecca lost their 19-year-old son in an automobile accident. “We have never had to deal with anything so devastating,” they say. “Although we, in the past, have mourned with others over their losses, we did not truly feel the great pain of heart that we do now.” What could possibly soothe such a “great pain of heart”—the extreme grief over losing someone whom you dearly love?
All these individuals, and millions of others, have indeed found a surpassing source of comfort and solace. To see how you too can benefit from that source, please read on.
^ par. 5 The actual number of military personnel and civilians who have died is not known. For example, the 1998 book Facts About the American Wars notes about World War II alone: “Most sources give the total number of those who died because of World War II (military and civilian) as 50 million but many who have studied the subject closely believe that the truer figure is higher—up to twice that number.”
^ par. 6 The name has been changed.
[Picture Credit Lines on page 3]
UNITED NATIONS/PHOTO BY J. K. ISAAC
UN PHOTO 146150 BY O. MONSEN