Joh 14:16-18 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, (17) even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (18) “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
The Holy Spirit, particularly in the Gospel of John, is called the paraclete, variously translated as the comforter, the Helper, and probably some other similar terms as well. Christ and the Spirit, as well as the Father, are one. So much so that Jesus can say of the coming of the Spirit, “I will come to you.”
Every real Christian is indwelt by the Comforter. And He is very active in us. Paul could say, for example:
Rom 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
It is by the Spirit that the Father communicates to us that we are indeed His children. The Spirit is the Spirit of adoption and He is the One who assures us that we really are Christ’s people.
But what I would like us to think about here is this matter of the Spirit being the Comforter. Here is Paul once again:
2Co 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (5) For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
Oppressed people are afflicted people. In fact, it is not going too far to say that every real Christian is oppressed in this fallen world. We share, as Paul says, in the sufferings of Christ and those sufferings are not rare. They are abundant.
However, the more these sufferings increase, the more the Comforter comforts. I don’t know exactly how He does this, but He does. It is a mystery, but it is real. I suppose one way this comfort comes to us is through the Spirit leading other believers to join us in our suffering. To come to us and help us just as faithful believers came to Paul when he was in prison. But I am sure there is also an inner, mystical aspect to this communication of comfort to us as well.
The Spirit’s comforting has a goal even beyond comforting us. He causes us to experience this comfort so that we can exercise it toward other believers who are suffering. That is why, for example, we all are comforted by those believers who have experienced the same kinds of sufferings that we experience. If you want to find someone who is a comfort to you, for instance, when you are being sorely abused by a wicked person, you will find that someone in the ranks of those who have also been abused. They suffered, they were comforted, and they can pass that comfort on to you.
Knowing these things helps us endure and persevere in this fallen world. Christ has not left us alone as abandoned orphans. When we are born again, He comes to us and He comes in the Person of the Spirit. He is right there with us in our suffering. So ask Him. Ask Him to pour out that comfort on you. As Peter puts it – Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. And Paul again:
Php 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is very true and hard for some people to grasp, particularly when they are in horrible pain or witnessing horrible pain. After going through severe abuse, I found most could not believe it happened because I carried an immense and ceaseless web of abuse, and then went through the social alienation etc. (abuser tactics) when I left the abuser – and I just kept going without looking back. I would hear comments on how what the abuser did couldn’t be true because I seemed fine, or it couldn’t be because I would feel so alone, etc. – basically another round of social abuse via their dismissals of the Lord’s absolute covering. When I would be challenged or questioned I would say it wasn’t me, it was God carrying me, I was serious. The Lord truly comforted me as I went through hell – and most could not accept that, and still don’t. Don’t get me wrong, there were many tears, pain, horrible things that happened by the orchestration of the abuser, etc. And then followed many adjustments as I learned to live a new version of life – yet it happened and each point of pain has been 10 fold covered by the Lord then, and now. This does not mean it was easy, it does mean he came through and delivered me to the other side – and each day has so much more to it knowing he does not leave us.
The Holy Spirit surrounding us as a comforter is vivid on a personal level, and if we need tangible proof of others, all we need to do is visit survivors that went through the worst imaginable pain and came out on the other side. And not just came out, but came out with an incredible depth and perception in their lives that they cannot explain in any other way than to God be the glory.
“My feet stand on level ground, in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.” Psalm 26:12
For those that are struggling right now, please keep going…. he does and will meet you where you are.
Dear Be Free,
Thank you for this comment. This brought tears to my eyes. I am in full agreement with your words and experience. There is no other explanation of this miracle to survive and come out whole and healthier on the other side of abuse. To stand strong and with dignity in the face of continued abuse.
This caught my eye while stopped at a traffic light:
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in Truth. Psalm 148:18.
Pastor Crippen, thank you for this post. Words of Truth.
Anonymous, I’m so glad it helped to read – as was your message.
Pastor Crippen, There have been so many posts that were very moving, from you and many others- as if (because he does) the Holy Spirit had inspired the message to touch right in the specific area needed that day. I often come back to your scriptures and posts, and each is a new revelation. Thank you for the messages and giving a voice to the very ones who were silenced far too long.