The Great God of Comfort is Still Available!


Have you ever had one of those moments which stand out so vividly in your mind that many years later you can remember every detail of it as if it had just happened? It can sometimes be a catastrophic event! It might even be just one of those special moments when the occasion is so momentous to you it is like it is etched in stone, like the birth of a child. Maybe it is a time when God had a divine appointment with you, like the one I want to share.

I will never forget this day as long as I live. It was in January of 1997. We were pastoring Triumphant Life Center in Rio Dell, California. That Friday morning I had gone to Eureka, California which was twenty-five miles away to take care of some business. One of my favorite things to do, if time permitted, was to go by the One Way Bible Book Store and browse. They had a good selection of books and a wonderful selection of used Christian books. Even when I didn’t have money to spend I would drop in and just look through the books. I love to read and I love books, so it was a great place to hide for a while.

I had looked around the store and it was time to leave so I approached the checkout with my purchase. The clerk had stepped into an office area behind the counter and was talking to a customer on the phone. I wasn’t in a real hurry so I took advantage of the wait to turn and look at some of the books and magazines in the checkout area. I wasn’t paying attention to the clerk or the conversation but as I stood with my back to the counter and office it was as if suddenly their voice was amplified. I heard the clerk state to the person on the phone, “I am sorry but the great God of comfort is not available!”

Now I don’t really know what they were talking about. Obviously considering where I was at the time, they were either talking about a book or some type of recording which had that name but when they made this statement a feeling went all over me. I suddenly felt something rise up within me and wanted to shout to the top of my lungs, “The Great God of Comfort is always available!”

As I left the store I couldn’t get away from that statement, it just kept rolling over in my mind. How terrible it would be to feel the great God of comfort was not available! How could you deal with life? How could you face tomorrow? How could you go on if you believed the great God of comfort was not available?

That Sunday night, as you might have already figured out, that is what I felt to preach about. God led me to a passage that I had not paid any attention to prior to this time. Paul is greeting the church in Corinth in his second letter and makes this statement as part of his greeting:

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.“

2 Cor 1:3-4

I preached a message entitled, “The Great God of Comfort is Always Available!” No matter what the problem is, the Great God of Comfort is always available! No matter how great the trial, the Great God of Comfort is always available! No matter how deep the valley or how lonely the night, the Great God of Comfort is always available! He will walk with you through those times when you feel you can’t walk another step! He will comfort you when you feel comfortless. He is always available.

The following Thursday I was again on my way to Eureka this time going with my son Justin to get his drivers license. On our way we stopped in Fortuna to take care of some other errands. As we were leaving town we passed my brother Tim and his wife Cristie and we all waved at each other. Justin and I were surprised when just a few miles up the freeway Tim pulled alongside of us and motioned he needed to talk to us. We took the next exit and they pulled up at the stop sign and told us they had been to the doctor and he was sending them to the hospital to run some tests.

Cristie was expecting their second child and was about seven or eight months into the pregnancy. They had just been to the doctor for a checkup and he thought they should go to the hospital to run some additional tests. I asked Tim if I needed to go with him but he said no, everything was fine. Just wanted to let us know so we could pray.

About two or three hours later, as we were returning home, my pager began to vibrate. There was a message to call my wife. My mobile phone was mounted in my truck which she had so I couldn’t call right away. The pager went off again, this time the call was from my mobile phone in the truck!

I was now getting nervous! My father was very ill and I was sure that he had fallen or something else had happened to him. I told Justin to stop in Fortuna and I would find a pay phone to call. We found a phone and I called the truck. There was no answer. I called the house and again there was no answer. About that time my pager went off a third time and this time it was a call from the hospital. I decided not to even call the hospital just to go directly there and find out what was going on.

When I arrived at the hospital I walked directly into the reception area. I had spent so much time there with family and saints the person at the desk recognized me. Before I could say anything she said, “They are all in the chapel!”

My heart sank! My feet became lead! I was wondering what could have happened so quickly that they would already be in the chapel? When I opened the door my wife looked at me with a warning look and eyes filled with tears. I quickly looked around and in the room was several other family members all focusing their attention on Tim and Cristie. I walked over to them and asked what was wrong. Tim, only twenty-two years old, looked at me with a shocked look and said, “They can’t find a heart beat for the baby and are sure we have lost him!”

From that point on things become a bit of a blur. This was my little brother and sister. They were my kids. Tim is eighteen years younger than I and I helped raise him. Cristie was a perfect fit in our family and we have always loved her as one of us. Now they were hurting so bad and I couldn’t help them. I remember taking them aside to talk to them and try to say something right for them. I told them that they could trust God in this and He would help them through this. They could trust Him and He would receive the glory from whatever came from it.

I will never forget as this young couple who were just starting life together and just starting a ministry together looked at me and said, “If the devil thinks this will stop us from living for God and having revival in our lives he is wrong. He is in for a fight!”

Sunday night Tim and Cristie came to church although I had told them if they weren’t up to it I would understand. Tim asked if it would be alright to arrive a bit later than usual and sit in the back as they didn’t feel like answering a lot of questions but did want to be in Church. I, of course, said that would be fine. So they came to Church that night.

Church started in a tentative manner. It was as if everybody was afraid to worship because they knew Tim and Cristie was there. Maybe we were wondering what they would think. We were all also feeling their pain and loss. The worship leader started us in the old chorus, “Won’t We Have a Time When We get over yonder?” As we sang it through a time or two it was as if we didn’t believe the song. Suddenly I heard a commotion and looked up. Down the aisle dancing for all he was worth came Tim! He danced to the front of the Church and reached up and took the microphone for the praise leader. With the microphone in one hand and the other raised to his Comforter he began to dance and sing that song giving it a brand new meaning. Several times through the next weeks and months this couple would refer to a divine appointment they had on a Sunday night with God. God met with them and sent them a personal message, “The Great God of All Comfort is Always Available!”

A little over a year ago I received a phone call at work and was told that a Sister in the church we attend had a son pass away that day. The son was in his early thirties and had died unexpectedly!

The following Sunday morning, just a day or so later, I was surprised when his grieving mother came into the Church. I was further surprised a little while later when she alone stood to her feet, raised her hands to heaven and began worshipping her God with all of her heart, just like she always does.

My brother Tim was sitting in front of me and a while later passed me a note that said, “Hey, the Great God of Comfort is still available, put that in a book!”

This past week, while in prayer, I once again felt led of God to share this thought. I still would rather not share it because I can’t without weeping and reliving those moments, it still tears at my heart! However, I feel there are those who are in need of the reassurance that in your moment of despair you can know the Great God of All Comfort is Still Available! It doesn’t matter what your tribulation is, He is available. Be assured He will Comfort you! Be assured He will take you through this time of tribulation! Be assured that from this time of receiving comfort from Him you will be able to share that Comfort with someone else in their time of tribulation.

Before I posted this blog I asked permission of Tim and Cristie to use their story. I knew if it affected me so deeply it would do the same to them. In fact, I sent them a second letter saying I had changed my mind and wasn’t going to post it. However, God once again let me know someone needs to hear this story. I received the following words:

“I don’t have a problem with you using our story. Tim preaches about it occasionally, and I know that’s part of the reason God let it happen to us, to use it help others. So whatever you feel like doing is fine with me.

By the way, did you realize today was Tyler’s birthday? January 30, 1997…now I can kind of look back on it as a beautiful day. I don’t cringe anymore when this day comes along.…”

The Great God of Comfort is Always Available!

Just a thought! God Bless…

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