Compassion is not the same as comfort
If we do not understand this, we may find ourselves comfortless and not understand why. We may try to comfort others and not understand why they are not comforted. There may be things in their situations or thinking that literally prevent them from being comforted. In such a situation, all we can do is express compassion.
Comfort will often result from clarification regarding a situation or regarding the truth of God’s provision.
Sometimes clarification is absolutely necessary before comfort (the result) can occur.
I cannot expect comfort if I have a false understanding of my situation.
Truth is the antidote for so much of our despair and fear.
Comfort may be missing because truth is missing.
There are three possible forms in which comfort may come
1. Action: Paul was “comforted by the coming of Titus.” (II Corinthians 7:6)
2. Words: “Comfort one another with these words…” (I Thessalonians 4:18)
3. Clarification: the “exhortation” of Hebrews 12:5 has behind it the same Greek word (paraclesis) as the “comfort” of II Corinthians 1. Exhortation will often have comfort as its harvest or byproduct.
Thus, it is a good use of our time to check for the presence of lies, untruths, distortions or deceptions that may be playing out in our mind when there is fear, misery, despair, lack of courage or anxiety.
Perhaps we underestimate the grief reported in the Scriptures in various situations, so it logically follows that we reckon the comfort that comforted them as being inadequate for our pain, our loss, our grief. We think somehow it was less painful and more simple for them~~so we miss out on the comfort that comforted them.
Comfort is a practical commodity in the kingdom of God that is backed by the provisions of God; purchased by the blood of Christ; one of the names of God (Paraclete, the Holy Spirit); not needed in eternity; and, is to be experienced in practical ways that change how my day goes.
We need to learn to be comforted. Do the work. Stop going without.