How To Comfort Each Other During Hard Times
We want to invite you to take our 31-day parenting prayer challenge. These are made possible in part by our faithful prayer team patrons. https://marriageaftergod.com/patron
join today! → Parentingprayerchallenge.com
Read The Transcript
[Jennifer] Welcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast.
[Aaron] We're your hosts. I'm Aaron.
[Jennifer] And I'm Jennifer.
[Aaron] We've been married for 14 years.
[Jennifer] And we have five young children.
[Aaron] We started blogging over 10 years ago, sharing our marriage story in hopes of encouraging other husbands and wives to draw closer to God and closer to each other.
[Jennifer] We have authored over 10 books together including our newest book "Marriage After God," the book that inspired us to start this podcast.
[Aaron] Marriage after God is a message to remind all of us that God designed marriage with a purpose.
[Jennifer] To reflect his love.
[Aaron] To be a light in this world.
[Jennifer] to work together as a team.
[Aaron] Using what he has given us.
[Jennifer] To build his kingdom.
[Aaron] Our hope is to encourage you along your marriage journey.
[Jennifer] As you boldly chase after God together.
[Aaron] This is "Marriage After God." Hey everyone, welcome back to the "Marriage After God" podcast. We're in Jennifer Smith, your host-
[Aaron] Yeah, we're excited to be back with another episode.
[Jennifer] Do you know that we are more than halfway through the season?
[Aaron] I know, crazy. It's going by really fast and it feels good.
[Jennifer] Yeah. Hope everyone's enjoying it as much as we are.
[Jennifer] One thing I wanted to share with you guys just starting out the gate here, is took the kids for a walk, we have these really cool parks where we live in central Oregon, and just wide open nature, fresh air flowing river, awesome bridge to walk over, and we got outside. And sometimes it gets hard for me in the wintertime 'cause it's like, I don't know, it's cold.
[Aaron] and you did it by yourself, I missed out on it today.
[Jennifer] Yeah, usually I make you go along with me, huh?
[Jennifer] More hands-
I was impressed.
[Aaron] And I missed it, 'cause I like going on those little adventures with you.
[Jennifer] Well, a friend invited me, and it was just really good to get out despite it being cold, and the reason that I'm sharing this with you guys is because this friend of mine just is very enthusiastic and passionate about nature and being outside all the time, and so one of her ways of encouraging me is this challenge she gave me, this piece of paper that said the thousand hour challenge, and there's all these little bubbles that you get to mark off for every hour that you're outside with the kids, and I just thought how wonderful, and so it's been a fun little way of kind of keeping ourselves accountable to being outside every day, and the kids have loved being outside. I mean, they ask for it all the time anyways, so if anyone wants to take up that challenge, it's a thousand hour challenge.
[Aaron] How many hours have you done outside?
[Jennifer] I don't know, since I started it's been about a week. I think we got in I wanna say nine hours that I'm keeping track of.
[Aaron] So I'm outside playing all day out back. So like that counts as like the, towards the hours. It doesn't have to be on an adventure just outside-
[Jennifer] It could just be outside.
[Aaron] That's cool.
[Jennifer] Yeah, so anytime they're outside for an hour, I mark it off.
[Aaron] I was actually kind of wondering what that thing on the refrigerator.
[Jennifer] Yeah it doesn't really explain much.
[Aaron] That's awesome. But I will try and go next time, 'cause it looked like you had a lot of fun.
[Jennifer] It was a fun little adventure. Also the reason that I was bringing that up is because some of you may have seen me post on Instagram about it, just random pictures of us being out on our nature walk today. But I'm back on Instagram and that's new.
[Aaron] So you're saying everyone should message and say hi to you.
[Jennifer] Sure, say hi, pop in and say hi. I was off for pretty much all of January, and I had never taken a break like that from a social media. Like, so hands off, like, I mean, I deleted it from my phone and everything, and it felt really good. And then one day I just decided I missed it. So I came back and at first it felt weird to post, like I didn't know really how to, it felt new again. but I'm back. Do you wanna come see me? Come say hi.
[Aaron] Awesome, I just want to invite everyone, if you haven't yet to leave a review today, that'd be awesome. Five star rating, actually doesn't have to be five-star you can get, you can start whatever you want. Five star would be appreciated, but yeah leaving a review or a star rating today would be awesome. If you have done that, we're just so appreciative and it helps the algorithms. We always mention it. So if you take a moment today, we'd really appreciate it.
[Jennifer] Another thing that we wanted to offer you is very similar to what you may have heard in the last few episodes kicking off the season, but it's a little bit different. So we've been sharing about the marriage prayer challenge, today we wanna remind you and offer you and invite you to the parenting prayer challenge. And it's essentially the same concept. You can go to parentingprayerchallenge.com and sign up, and you'll get 31 days of prayer prompts to pray over your children.
[Aaron] And you can actually choose whether to pray for your son or your daughter or both, if you have both, and it's completely free, and we'd love for you to join that and take that challenge. And you could take it even if you're taking the marriage prayer challenge already. So you can be praying for your spouse and you can be praying for your kids. You should do that today.
[Jennifer] Again, that's parentingprayerchallenge.com.
[Aaron] So Jennifer, why are we talking about... Just real quick, I know this isn't in the notes, but why are we talking about comforting each other during hard times. When we came up with this list of ideas for episodes?
[Jennifer] Yeah, I think we already mentioned that the motivation behind the way we created our list this season was just, how we do every season is what have we been learning about? What have we been doing? What have we been walking through? What's God been teaching us? So partly from that just last year, there were times that you hard times that you comforted me and I comforted you. And it was a kind of relearning opportunity for us in our marriage of what it looks like to go through a hard time and be there for one another. And the other reason is just because I think that if you had, you know, a handful of categories that every marriage deals with, this is probably one, of the top ones where every marriage faces challenges and hardship and trials and hard times, and we get the opportunity as husband and wife to be there for one another. And so I think it's good to what we always say check our hearts or evaluate, you know, where we're at and how we're doing. And so we thought talking about how to comfort each other during hard times, would be inappropriate marriage topic for a marriage podcast.
[Aaron] I think so. And it's good for everything, not just your marriage, but I'm just thinking about situations in my life where I needed to be comforted by friends, by my parents.
[Jennifer] That's true, we are gonna go into more of just comforting others too.
[Aaron] But it's good, especially with how the world's going, and things have just been going on. I think there's plenty of opportunities to be comforted into comfort. And personally, this has been something that's very difficult for me to do to others.
[Jennifer] Comforting others or having compassion or empathy toward them?
[Aaron] All the above.
[Jennifer] Okay, I'm like, just clarify.
[Aaron] I don't know why. I couldn't tell you why, but emotional sensitivity has been difficult pretty much my whole life. I don't know why. I feel like the last handful of years I've gotten better at it, I feel like I've been like changing that in me. You could probably attest to this, like going from just always, you know, logical and cold to getting a little bit softer and-
[Jennifer] Well, let me encourage you, because I wouldn't say the word cold. I don't think you're a cold guy, I don't think you're a mean guy, I think that you're a very strong guy, and so sometimes some of the weaker ways that we humans walk through get overlooked because-
[Aaron] Being very gentle to me, thank you.
[Jennifer] I'm being honest. I do think that you... There are plenty of times you've been compassionate or have comforted me or others, I just wouldn't say that you're like that kind of tenderhearted always trying to be there.
[Aaron] Yes, it's something that I need to work on for 100% sure.
[Jennifer] Okay, let's just stick to the notes here.
[Aaron] Yeah, okay. It's something that definitely doesn't come natural to me. I don't know why it is, but it just never really has. Comforting someone in hard times, someone who's going through painful situations, suffering-
Like what to do in hard times?
[Aaron] That, yeah, not knowing how to be that person for someone.
[Jennifer] When you have someone in your life that is going through a hard time, do you automatically get challenged with the thought, like, I don't know what to do for them, or is it more just like this is so uncomfortable and I wanna like... I hope they get better and I'm gonna pray for them move on. Or I don't know.
[Aaron] Yeah, I'd say there's a couple of things. Especially if someone who's going through something's not in close proximity to me. And like I said, I've been getting better at this, God's definitely shown stuff to me and highlighted this in me. But if they're not like indirect proximity to me, it's hard for me to like put my mind on them and my heart on them. But when I am in proximity to someone, I'm thinking of like deaths in the family, or, you know, friends going through hard things.
[Jennifer] Where I see it.
[Aaron] Where I see it and I'm present. And yeah, I think I want to, like, there's this, like I know I should do something, I know I should say something, I know should be a certain way, but I, yeah, I think it's both of those things, but I also feel uncomfortable. So it's something I'm wanting to grow in, and get better, which is why I'm glad we're talking about it, because it's been something that God has been teaching us, teaching me.
[Jennifer] Me too.
[Aaron] He's used you a lot to teach me, which we'll talk about.
[Jennifer] I was just gonna say, marriage is awesome in that those moments where you haven't walked with compassion or comfort, I've been able to share with you how I feel in those moments. You know, if I've felt overlooked, or I felt like maybe you didn't respond to me the way I was hoping you would have in the way that I felt, over the years, you have been responsive to those moments that I've shared that with you. So you have grown in these areas. You might see yourself as not being super great at comforting others, but you have grown a lot since I've known you in this.
[Aaron] Yeah, and I wanna grow more, I wanna be better for you at that. But I just know that even with you, there's times that I'm not understanding, or I see a situation differently, or I might be it come off as cold or un compassionate, because I'm just like, Hey, like we can get through this. Maybe I there's been times that I'm-
[Jennifer] Quick to fix it.
[Aaron] Yeah, like I, I just jumped to-
[Jennifer] The solution or like-
[Aaron] The solution. And I also think-
Just now that I'm thinking about it, I think I get, because I'm uncomfortable with someone going through something, I want them to stop going through it. Like, come on-
I see what you're saying. Like stamp out of it. Like let's move past it. Maybe because I don't usually get affected too much.
[Jennifer] You're the type that if you're near Aaron and you're going through a hard time, he wants to grab you by the arm and go have a good time, like, come on, let's just go, let's move forward. Like that?
[Aaron] Yeah, Sort of. It's like I want you to see it from my point of view. I don't know. And then that's not always right, right? Wrong, that's not right.
[Jennifer] And this is what God's teaching you.
[Aaron] Yeah, this is what God's teaching me.
[Jennifer] That's good. Also, when were talking and explaining that just now, I was just thinking the silence. You know that people say the awkward silence.
[Aaron] It's too awkward for me.
[Jennifer] Well, yeah. But sometimes when people are sharing that they're going through a hard time, or are suffering or need that person, that friend to comfort them. Yeah, you're quick to say something, you're quick to move or quick to be actionable, because-
[Aaron] I wanna give some sort of response.
[Jennifer] You want to give a response to them. And so would you say that God is teaching you how to just be still in that moment, and kind of be there with that person?
[Aaron] Yeah, well, it's something that we'll talk about in this episode, but it's, there's, I think He's showing me, He's been teaching me how to walk with individuals, because every situation isn't the exact same. I could see things like, this is always how I'm supposed to be, or always what I should say. But every situation is different, and I need to love someone enough to understand them and how they will receive love and comfort. So more of a putting myself in their shoes the specific person, I don't know, I feel like I'm-
[Aaron] I know, I feel like we've kind of gone on this tangent of like, let's talk about and focus on Aaron, but we didn't kind of mean for it to go that way, but we'll run with it.
[Jennifer] Yeah, I just wanted to bring up that this is a hard thing for me.
[Jennifer] You're being honest, that's good. I think this is interesting because I get what you're saying, and I've seen what you're saying play out before with me and with others, just having known you for so long. But there's this other side of you that really is gentle and compassionate and comforting, I've seen it. And I've seen you treat people, everybody has as equal, like you don't put people on pedestals where there's like this person over here that's higher, and this person over here that's lower. Like you've always maintained this equal standing of like value with people, which I think is incredible. And you've also always kind of, I don't know how to say at the same time, you've been there for the underdog. At different times in our life, there has been people that are like hard to get along with, or people are struggling with them and you seem to be able to relate to them and be friendly and be there for them. Does that make sense?
[Aaron] It goes back to that, seeing everyone the same. I, well, I do tend to not like knowing that there's someone that's being cast out or downcast or put aside. And so I feel like I gravitate towards those people, but at the same time, I don't treat them any different than I would treat someone else.
[Aaron] I just, yeah, it is interesting. But that has come into play Now that I think about it, with some of the problems I've had, because like I was saying, treating everyone the same, isn't always... It's good to it's good to view everyone the same, but it doesn't mean I'd respond the same to everyone, or interact the same with everyone, if that makes sense. Especially when it comes to things like comforting, things like suffering, things like pain, something that I may not understand, something I've never gone through. So I feel like it's been opened my eyes to like how to, as Paul put it, be all things to all men so that I might win some. Like that idea of seeing where someone's at and being like, okay, good Lord. What do you, how do you want me to respond to this specific situation with this person?
[Jennifer] Right. Well, I feel like we went through quite a bit of just how you engage and interact with people just now, And I don't want it for now. I just don't want it to sound super negative. So just as a reminder to you, Aaron, I have seen you in times where people are suffering an uncomfortable or needing comfort, you've been there. And even in the awkwardness, even in the not knowing what to do or how to respond in that moment,
I do try.
You do try. And you're really, you're a good friend, and you're a good husband. And I just wanted to remind you that. So without going more into me personally, this topic was meant for everyone.
[Jennifer] And I think is the launching pad.
[Aaron] Yeah, well It made sense, 'cause I was writing this and I had to start with, hey this is something that is hard for me, but I'm sure it's hard for everyone at different times. But it's also something that we desire ourselves that we ourselves want to be comforted, and as believers, we want to be good at being able to comfort because we can comfort the lost, and that could be an opportunity to bring them to Christ. We can comfort our family and our spouse and our children, and so it's a good tool in our tool belt, as we talk about in our book to all to have. And I think it's something that we should, like you said in the beginning of this, examine our hearts and say okay Lord, how can I... Teach me how to be compassionate and have a heart for the hurting?
[ Jennifer] Yeah, and no one's exempt from or immune from having hard times, or facing trials, challenges, suffering. Right, it might look different for each of us, but we all experience it on some level, every marriage does, every individual within that marriage does, people we know friends, family, people who, neighbors. Yeah, everybody faces it in different ways. And I think if we keep our hearts tender, I think tender is such a good word when it comes to being able to comfort one another, I think we'll we'll know what the right thing to do is when those opportunities arise.
[Aaron] Isn't it James that says that pretty much promises, we will have trials and tribulations in our life. Like it's a given not just for the believer, but for the world. You can't turn on the TV or go outside or drive down the street without seeing it or even experiencing it. Like there's just going to be trials and challenges and things that are hard. So having an eyes for this and I think you said tenderness is a good word, but like like a softness, like a heart that's ready.
[Jennifer] Yeah, well that's good. Yeah. I like that. Before we dive into some of the meat of the message today, I thought it would be fun to answer this question, what is the most comforting thing I have ever done for you?
[Aaron] There's been times when I've been really sick and you pamper me.
[Aaron] I mean like you-
[Jennifer] I call it babying, I baby you.
[Aaron] Yeah, there was a time when I had a really bad earache, and I thought my brain was gonna explode.
[Jennifer] I remember that, I've never seen you in so much pain, actually.
[Aaron] I hadn't ever been in so much pain. But you like held me while I was like like crying on the bed, 'cause it was hurting so bad.
[Jennifer] I was a little terrified, I didn't know what to do.
[Aaron] Neither did I, it was so bad. But I remember you
I prayed for you.
[Aaron] Yeah I think of those times when I'm, there is nothing to do, but you just held me or, you know, prayed over me, and so that was the first thing I thought of.
[Jennifer] And then I think I said, I think you should go to the doctors or had you already been?
[Aaron] I did, I went to the doctors and I got a, some sort of antibiotic but it was like, it got worse after I got back.
[Aaron] I remember that, that was intense.
[Aaron] So what's the most comforting thing that I've ever done for you?
[Jennifer] I'd say like you mentioned a very specific time but I think in general, just when you hold me close, when you pull me into you and hug me and yeah, just hold me.
[Aaron] Remind you that I'm still here.
[Jennifer] Yeah, that you're very close. I think the second thing is just when I hear you pray over me or for us, that's always encouraging.
[Aaron] That's good.
[Aaron] Some tips for all those listening.
[Jennifer] The only thing you need, physical touch and prayer.
[Jennifer] I guess we're done.
[Aaron] Yeah, let's move on to the... Yeah, now there's some things in scripture we can look at that can give us some I don't know if they're guidelines, but it's encouragement for us in our walk and comforting, learning to comfort our spouse, others. And I just wanted to go through some of those and hopefully it encourages you listening, it encouraged me when I was writing it. So the first thing is for the believer, we're told to comfort each other.
[Jennifer] So do it.
[Aaron] Right, so this kind of sounds oversimplified but sometimes I feel like we don't think have that responsibility. Or someone else will do that. That's not my job. And I know we've in various seasons, struggled with this. Like someone's going through something and we think to ourselves, no we shouldn't like maybe someone else will, maybe they don't want anyone over there right now. And just kind of questioning whether it's our role to go comfort someone.
[Jennifer] Which the hard thing about that is the moment you justify it, or excuse yourself out of the situation, it only takes a fleeting moment to then forget about it. Like, forget that need, forget that that person needs it right then and there. And then when, by the time it comes back around you remember it, the moment has passed, the opportunity has passed, someone else has stepped in, which is good, and we're so grateful for those people that take over when we don't or choose not to, or forgetful but let's not do that.
[Aaron] So yeah, the first thing is that we're told-
[Jennifer] You said maybe it's over simplified and I just the next word I heard, but under done. So over simplified, under done.
[Aaron] It's true. Yeah, because we do, we disqualify ourselves from that ministry, but we're we're told to comfort each other. And I would imagine, not imagine, I would say that the first person that you should be like prone to comfort is your spouse. Right, they're a part of you, you're one with each other. And so if you're not comforting each other you're not comforting yourself. Like if you look at that-
[Jennifer] I would definitely say this, I'm trying not to use double negatives. If you're not comforting your spouse, you better not be comforting anybody else because the moment you show others comfort, and that ability and your spouse is sitting over here going what in the world?
[Aaron] That's true.
[Jennifer] That's so hurtful. And the other part of that is if you guys... We're gonna talk about this in a minute, but you guys should be comforting people as a team, like your marriage, your one, so you be comforting each other first and then step into that space of like being able to comfort others. Sorry, I had to get out of the way.
[Aaron] That's good. So second Corinthians 13:11 is where we get this says: "Finally, brothers rejoice, aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you." So if we look at that os piece the God of love and peace will be with you. Do we want that?
[Jennifer] Of course.
[Aaron] Okay, then let's rejoice, let's aim for restoration, let's comfort one another, agree with one another and live in peace. This is how the brothers in the church, this is a Christians walk,
[Jennifer] But this is such a great marriage verse. Like if you just replaced brothers for spouses.
[Aaron] Finally spouse's rejoice, aim for restoration. And well, especially if you and your spouse are both believers like this totally applies. And even if you have a spouse that's not a believer, you can still aim for this on your side of the marriage. But we are to comfort one another. That's a, that's a command to us on how we walk. It's part of our job description, not only as husbands and wives, but as Christians, it's our responsibility to do this. So if you've been looking for permission to comfort someone, comfort your spouse, that you are qualified, that you are called to it, here it is. This is a part of your job.
[Jennifer] Okay, so, because we're talking, it's kind of a mixed message or not a mixed, but-
[Aaron] I love this note, by the way.
[Jennifer] How do I say it's all encompassing message today on how to comfort others. So it is inclusive of your spouse and others, right? We need to-
[Aaron] Like there is a caveat.
[Jennifer] Yeah, we need to clarify that boundaries matter, And I'm saying this from experience being married to your Aaron for 14 years, that we've communicated and agreed upon boundaries that have, I think protected our marriage and protected our unity and our peace within our marriage. So do you wanna speak to that?
[Aaron] And what you're talking about is specifically like so taking all of this advice for your spouse is great, and learning as a couple as an individual individual to comfort others is great, but we shouldn't just take that blanket across the board because it would be very dangerous if I got in the habit of personally and individually comforting other women or other people's wives, right? I mean, that was just, that would be wrong. Now, if someone needs to be comforted, what I can do is bring my wife into it with me, or encourage my wife to do it.
[Jennifer] Hey, I noticed so-and-so is hurting over here. Have you reached out to them? Have you had a conversation? You know, things like that. And the reason that we bring this up, you guys is because our marriage matters and our relationship is sacred. Aaron and I's right. You would agree that our marriage is 100% special, special. Yeah. I don't know how else to explain that. And I think when you move into comforting others, there is a level of intimacy involved. And I'm not saying the same intimacy as a husband and wife, but emotional intimacy is something that's truly valued among human beings and how we experience life. And so if you're gonna move into that space where you're comforting someone, regardless of what it is like whether it's meeting a need of theirs, or sitting there and listening to some hardship that they're going through, that's something that we should be willing to look at and say, are we making sure that we are within our boundary, right? Just our boundaries is I don't.
[Aaron] Our boundary is that I don't. I won't sit ever alone and comfort a hurting woman. I won't do that. And if I did, my wife would know about it immediately. It wouldn't be a secret thing, but that would be, that has never happened. So the, what would happen is I would call you I'd be like, Hey, I think we need to come up. And it sounded really bad. Like we should go pray for them, or you should go see if she needs to talk. And so we were, and the same with my wife, she wouldn't go and sit and have a really deep intimate conversation with someone listening to all of their hurts and the things they're going through alone, she would invite me, or she would tell me like, hey you should really chat with so-and-so, they really need some comfort, they need some, you know, someone to listen.
[Jennifer] And we've actually found a really great blessing and benefit in this, and Aaron, you've had some really great conversations with guys who have needed that comfort from another brother and I've had the opportunity to comfort and be comforted by other Christian women. And it's been a good thing. And then together as a couple, we've been able to step into that and, you know minister to other couples and other people. So I just think that boundaries are important. And, and we kind of wanted to talk about it upfront and get it out of the way, because it'll apply to everything else that we're talking about.
[Aaron] So we always want to just encourage boundaries and order and that it also encourages you to encourage your spouse to be a minister, to care for others. So working together helps with that, and it's not worth it. So if someone's going through something, just know that there's someone else that can comfort them, if it's not you. So find another sister, brother, "Hey so-and-so could totally use some comforting right now." And so that we protect our marriages. So I thought that was a really good note. Thank you for that. So I just want to give a quick definition of comfort. So comfort is, first of all, it's a verb.
[Aaron] It's something you do, and you do it actively. And it's defined as a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. So physically comforting someone helping, you know, if they have a broken arm holding their arm up so that they're not in constant pain as a friend of mine, one time put his back out. And I had to take into the to the hospital and I had to like, hold up his whole torso so that he would put any weight on his lower spine. And it was wow. But that, that's what this is talking about is physical comfort. I'm comforting that physical pain with my body.
[Jennifer] I'm thinking about labors. I've had the opportunity to be a part of, where you're just trying to help ease that woman going through, that you just helping in any way. Yeah.
[Aaron] The other definition is the easing or alleviation of a person's feelings of grief or distress. So that's one, that's common of they're going through something painful emotionally, and you're there for them. And then another one is ease the grief or distress.
To console someone. So that's essentially what comfort is. There's a physical comfort, which again, should be in a safe way with boundaries, but with your spouse like that, like you said, me being near you, holding you, coming to you, touching you you know, embracing you. And so that's what we're talking about when we talk about comfort.
[Jennifer] As you're going through these definitions, the word that stood out to me is the word alleviate. And it reminds me of, you know, lifting up kind of like that illustration that you get so good. And I looked up another, you know, the source of synonyms in it, it means to take the edge off. So it's not just solving a problem or making something not painful ever again, that might be where that uncomfortable feeling comes from for you, that you had mentioned earlier. It's like this expectation to help in a way that that we just can't, you know sometimes some hard things won't ever be fixed, but in them we can help take the edge off by gladdening someone's heart reminding them of the good making them laugh or experience joy amidst what they're going through. So I just thought that word alleviate was I dunno, really cool. In normal times there there's plenty of reasons and seasons we go through that bring us to a point where we need to be comforted. I think everybody listening right now it's just like maybe sitting in that space right now saying I need that, you know hopefully our words bring you comfort today.
[Aaron] I think a lot of believers right now look at the stuff going on in the world. Yeah. And we desire to be comforted. Like, is it gonna like, what? Like what's going on Lord? And so as believers, also, something to encourage you with is you can comfort because you're comforted. I know it kind of sounds funny but it's it's why we can comfort. That my next point is we are told to comfort but you can comfort because you yourself have been comforted. In 2nd Corinthians 1:3-5 Paul says this: "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort." Okay, right there just starts a God of all comfort, "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, for as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ, we share abundantly in comfort too." This is true for every believer. Because no matter what, you're going through, you have the comfort of God on your life because you know that he has saved you by His son Jesus.
[Jennifer] Okay, so just real quick, when we were sharing about the definition just a bit ago, a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. Oh my goodness. This makes me appreciate and just attend a way to salvation that we have in Christ.
[Aaron] Right, 'cause no matter what the world or our happens to our bodies, man, does our bodies or just happens through age or disease, that we are comforted with the knowledge and the truth that this isn't it, that we have a new body coming, that we have a new home, that we have a savior, and we're going to have eternity worshiping our father.
[Jennifer] So every single one of us have felt broken, shame, unrighteousness, that sin that he set us free from he's given us freedom from that's the comfort that we're talking about.
[Aaron] And on top of that, He sent us his us His Holy Spirit who also comforts us. So when we're in the midst of just life, he reminds us of the truth about us. This is something that we dealt with a lot this year, just us thinking about who we are in Christ. And that we're no longer that old man. And that God was, he reminds us like, no, that's not who you are. Hey yes, it feels this way now, but it's not true. Like the Holy spirit has comfort us many times by bringing to remembrance the truth about us. When the lies are making us sad, and feel broken the spirit isolator, he comforts us. And so I just want to encourage you listening that you have that same comfort. The God of all comfort comforts you in all your affliction. And this is why, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted. So we're not comforting out of our perfect situation, we're not comforting out of the fact that we don't have any afflictions.
[Jennifer] We're not even comforting out of our own means. So when we're trying to, you know, help comfort someone by providing them something or, you know fulfilling a need for them. It's like, it's not even out of that physical response. It's literally because we've all been comforted by God himself.
[Aaron] Right, so the comfort that we give, the comfort that we offer, the comfort that we attempt to walk in is his comfort, right? That's an incredible encouragement, because we can go sit with someone and know that any comfort we could offer, has come from God already in our life and in their life. I also think this is a good place to just say if we struggle with that awkwardness of or being uncomfortable with seeing someone suffering or going through a trial or something hard and the Lord's given us the opportunity to step into that to comfort them. And we don't know what to do. Like Aaron, you said that you've struggled with that. We can pray and we can ask Him and we can say, God, the God of all comfort, can you show me how you want me to comfort for this person right now? I know how you've comforted me, I know you, how you have set me free, you know, how can I do that for this person?
[Aaron] That's a good point when there's times that I'm struggling when you're going through something, and I'm like, I have no idea what to do. I'm like, Lord, what do I do? And he brings to remembrance your words. I wish you would just like, hold me, like just come close to me. Which is you don't say that in the moment but you've said it enough. And I'm like, okay. And then I'm thinking to myself, this is hard. Why is this so hard to go? Just sit down right now. Right?
[Jennifer] Our flesh will get in the way sometimes.
[Aaron] Yeah, a lot.
[Aaron] Especially in marriage, but-
[Jennifer] All right, here's your third encouragement, Christian, okay, rise up and go to them to be present. What I was just talking about, like I'm sitting across the room or in the other room or like, I'm like, how do I help my wife right now? How do I fix this situation? And the Holy spirit says, go to her. So this is your call. So it's not just that we're told to do it, it's not just that you have the comfort given to you already to comfort others, but it's also you get up and you go, you, you do it. You don't wait for someone to come to you because we might have this thought, well if someone needs comfort they're going to come and ask for it, they're going to come and knock on my door and say, "Hey, I need to talk, I need to sit down and know that you love me, and that you're my friend. And I need to-"
[Jennifer] Yeah, 'cause if, that's... Yeah, 'cause if we sit there and we say, I'm just gonna wait until they tell me exactly what they need, what are you off the hook?
[Aaron] Well, I mean, this is, what's funny is like do we even do that? Do we go around and tell every single person exactly what we need? No, we don't.
[Jennifer] So I'm going even tell you, I want you to read my mind.
[Aaron] That's true. But you're in your marriage. I think there should be a lot more communication about this by the way. So if you need comfort, you should go to your spouse if you have it in you and say, I need to be comforted, or I just need you to listen or will you just sit next to me? Like I think... Now that doesn't get you off the hook, husbands if your wife doesn't do that, or wives if your wife or husband, if your wife doesn't do that.
[Jennifer] Yeah, I think our hearts should be tender toward one another, and our eyes should be always scanning and seeing where's my spouse at?
[Aaron] Right, but it wouldn't hurt for us to communicate more.
[Aaron] But we can't expect everyone outside of our marriage to be that way. So we have to have a willingness to get up and go. It's not easy. Here's some stories of this happening. Okay, Genesis 37:35 , "All his sons and all his daughters Rose up to comfort him. But he refused to be comforted and said, no I shall go down a shield to my son mourning. Thus, his father wept for him." This is when Joe Joseph's father thought he was dead. And they all, they all rose up and went to him to comfort him. They didn't just sit back and say, "Oh, he's mourning in the other room." Now they got up and they surrounded him. 1st Chronicles, 7:22 "And Ephraim their father mourned many days and his brothers came to comfort him." They didn't comfort from a distance, they didn't sit back, let him go through what he's going through by himself, they got up and they went.
[Jennifer] I was gonna offer to read this next verse, but I think I'm going to let you tackle it.
[Aaron] Okay. Job 2:11 , "Now when job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place. Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Namathite, they made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him." So this is another really cool thing. Now, if you've read job these friends don't do a great job of comforting, they do actually do a lot of what I would be prone to do saying how would they were wrong or like what they did, but what they do what they did do well is they came together as friends, and they said, "our friend is really going through something bad, we should go." And so this is just a note of sometimes it's appropriate to say, "Hey, we need to get some people together to go comfort this person, so they're not alone, so that they know that we're here for them."
Make a little plan about it.
[Jennifer] That's really cool. The first verse you mentioned it says that he refused to be comforted. And I just had a note that because I think that's very human to reject or to resist comfort. I don't know why we do that, but I think everyone can agree. Maybe everyone that when someone does try to comfort us, sometimes our reaction is to refuse that or to reject it. We shouldn't get upset by this if we're the ones trying to comfort someone or our spouse, we shouldn't let rejection keep us from trying again or even trying with others. Don't let that become an excuse for why you're not continuing on and other opportunities. But I think that it's interesting that it did note that he said that. So I just wanted to make a little-
[Aaron] Yeah, but what's awesome is someone can't have the opportunity to reject comfort if someone didn't go to comfort in the first place.
[Jennifer] That's true.
[ Aaron] I love that, let's not avoid going to someone 'cause we think there's no way they want to right now they wanna be alone, let's just leave them alone. Going to be there even if they reject you, at least-
[Jennifer] They know you tried.
[Aaron] Yeah, and also you give them the option, rather than they're just alone and there is no option. No one came to them, no one reached out, no one sought to comfort. And so going to comfort is right. And then rejecting it. shouldn't stop us from trying.
[Jennifer] And we shouldn't reject comfort when someone's... 'Cause that's an opportunity that someone's trying to act in what God has said we should be doing, right? like the Bible says to comfort.
[Aaron] Yeah, but in some cases especially with like mourning it's a process.
[Jennifer] Yeah, that's true, that's very compassionate.
[Aaron] We should try to receive comfort, but sometimes where you could be in a really deep mournful state.
[Jennifer] All good things to talk about.
[Aaron] Going to the next thing, what is the appropriate response? Right, so you, you brought up helping someone is like taking off the edge. You can't bring the person back from the dead, you can't take away the cancer, you can't change the circumstance, but you can soften the blow.
[Jennifer] Yeah, but that doesn't just mean that when someone's in pain, or going through a trial that you insert a funny joke, or you know what I mean?
[Aaron] Are you sure? That's a great way to like someone's hurting really bad, you make a joke and laugh.
[Jennifer] Maybe it depends on the person, but you should be mindful of the person, you should be mindful of your spouse.
Yeah discerning, that's a good word.
[Aaron] Which is what I was talking about at the beginning is... And a lot of people have these responses, when someone gets hurt, I actually used to do this, when someone would get hurt, I would laugh about it. You've talked about that before. And so we have these kind of natural fleshly responses that just for whatever reason how we were raised in our DNA-
[Jennifer] What did it do or how to understand it.
[ Aaron] But learning and asking the Lord to teach us what is an appropriate response? It's good to go comfort, we want to do that, but we got to ask, we just got to ask for that discernment, because we can have the right heart and bring the wrong response, which is something that I keep going back to. This is how I've been, I might want to, but then I to say the wrong thing. I'm trying to prematurely cheer someone up, like you said, the joke, I'm trying to push someone to move on from where they're, what they're dealing with, which is something that I would tend to do. Like, hey-
[Jennifer] When there really is a process.
[Aaron] Well, I skipped the whole process, which doesn't care about the other person at all, what it does is it cares more about my discomfort with this person's suffering. Talking too soon, which is something I struggle with, 'cause I want to just fill that, that like, let's just figure it out, let's talk.
[Jennifer] I love you still.
[Aaron] Romans 12:15 says: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." This gives a picture of walking with what someone's walking through with them. Someone's weeping for something. If they're weeping over a lost child, over a over sickness over just you name it, there's lots of things to weep over in this life, We don't just come in and be like cheer up buck. And you know, like, we should break.... Our hearts should break with them. When someone's rejoicing, rejoice with them. This is probably another conversation. But this is something that plagues the church I think sometimes is when someone gets some sort of success or something to rejoice in, we might get jealous.
[Jennifer] So there's a lack of rejoicing for one-
[Aaron] Yeah, I don't wanna rejoice with them 'cause like why didn't I get that? Or why are they being raised up?
[Jennifer] So that played the church, but I think that it's more just the worldwide thing, it's a flesh thing.
[Aaron] But if someone is winning, someone's successful, or if someone's has a praise report, if someone is having success in an area that you wish you had success in, or is having freedom and an area that you don't have freedom in, or like these things, like rejoice, they're part of the church, rejoice for them like that is so praise God. It also keeps us from that just contentment and Jealousy.
[Jennifer] Another verse that we wanted to share with you guys today is Ecclesiastes 3:4 starts, and seven. It says: "A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to tear and a time to sow a time to keep silence, and a time to speak."
[Aaron] Yeah, and Ecclesiastes was written by the wisest man that ever lived. And he just talks about this idea of what time is it? Is it a time to weep with someone? Is at a time to laugh with someone? Is it a time to mourn with someone? You know, tear, like, are you pulling up that, you know, the plants are you planting, sowing, the seeds, are you to be quiet, are you to speak? And so there's these... We can look at the situation and say okay, what role can I play right now? How should my heart be in this situation? Proverbs 25:20 puts it this way: "Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day and like vinegar on soda." That idea behind this verse is singing songs is a great thing. But when you go to someone with a heavy heart and you try and seem to like artificially cheer them up, it's doing what I just, what I said a second ago is you're overlooking that person's heart altogether.
[Jennifer] Yeah, there's no care.
[Aaron] It likens it to taking off a garment on a cold day. So like someone's cold and they've got their coat on and I go rip their court off. And they're like, what? So you, you take away comfort. You don't-
[Jennifer] Add to it, yeah. Did anyone else think when you said like vinegar on soda, the volcano experiment?
[Aaron] That's what that does, it forms up-
[Jennifer] Like they've been doing it that long.
[Aaron] The word would be agitate. The last thing someone who's going through something needs is to be agitated.
[Aaron] I'm sure everyone listening, knows someone like that, that every time you need some comfort they know how perfectly out of agitate.
[Jennifer] Okay, so earlier when I had mentioned, you know this idea of taking the edge off of pain and how it means to alleviate, I said that it reminds me of lifting up. What if it's like lifting up a huge stone off their shoulders so that they can breathe a little better? Is that a good picture?
[Aaron] Yeah, and that's a great analogy.
[Jennifer] It's like lifting the burden of the hard stuff off them which you've done for me plenty of times.
[Aaron] Right, and we have this list of the things that you there's times for. Sometimes it's sitting quiet with someone, sometimes it's encouraging what the word of God and advice, sometimes it's listening and not talking.
[Jennifer] Sometimes it's giving them a thoughtful gift that comes with a sweet message. Sometimes it's watching a couples, children so that they can go have a date night and talk it out themselves.
[Aaron] Yeah, lifting that Like, Hey, there's these responsibilities, how can we take some of these away? So they can go through what they're going through with less.
[Jennifer] Sometimes it's offering to drop off groceries for them, so they don't have to worry about that.
[Aaron] Sometimes it's cleaning the house for someone for your spouse. I love that you like lifting that load off their shoulders.
[Jennifer] Sometimes it's a text reminding them of who they are in Christ or sending them a scripture verse.
[Aaron] Sometimes it's a bouquet of flowers sent to their house. Sometimes it's a bag of goodies dropped off at the door. I like that one by the way.
[Aaron] It's actually happened to me quite a few times. And I really appreciate all of you. Actually, I mentioned it once in "Wife After God" pure joy, great chapter, go check it out. And it just happened recently.
[Aaron] That was a good goody bag. We have some good goodie bag dropper offers.
[Jennifer] Maybe we should do an episode of just like how to put together a good goodie bag.
[Aaron] That's true.
[Jennifer] Okay, I'm so sorry. Sometimes it's a phone call just to hear their voice.
[Aaron] And then sometimes it's a prayer. And I would say always a prayer sometimes said out loud
[Jennifer] Like sometimes all of these and then always a prayer, always a prayer.
[Jennifer] I think they get the idea. You know, at the beginning of this episode, I quickly said marriage is so awesome. It really is you guys, I hope you agree with me that marriage is awesome. But it's such an intimate relationship. What a gift We have to share with someone who can comfort us when we're at our lowest and Aaron, I can attest to this, you have comforted me at my lowest, and I hope that I've been that for you.
[Aaron] You have, yeah. At least, I think that this is what marriage was intended for, right? To lift other up and to comfort one another for some. And at times Aaron, we were, this couple were the 'cause of our hard time was, was our marriage and our marriage. It was each other getting in the way. And we had friends that stood by us, friends and family who stood by us and comforted us through it. If this is you listening right now, this is where you are, I just wanted to say that we're truly sorry. And understand that this kind of pain. The pain that comes from a marriage, that's struggling. And we hope you will find comfort in this verse that I'm gonna share. Paul is talking to believers but this is our prayer for you today. And it's Romans 15:1-7, "We who are strong, have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Let each of us pleases neighbor for his good to build him up for Christ did not please himself. But as it is written through approaches of those who reproached you fell on me, for whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord, with Christ Jesus, that together you may, with one voice glorify the God and father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God."
[Aaron] Yeah, I love that verse for couples that are going through this because the reminder is that, the God of endurance and encouragement grants them to live in such harmony with one another in accordance with Christ and so that they can, again like the God of all comfort, we talked about, that they can be comforted knowing that even though they're going through these difficult times, they themselves individually can run to Christ, be comforted by him and know that his heart is that they would walk in harmony. And that is what they should be praying for, Harmony.
[Jennifer] And the comfort that we receive from Christ and the comfort that we receive from others does produce within our hearts and our minds this hope that better days will come. Even if circumstances don't change, even if the trials are still hard even if the pain is still prevalent, because of loss or or whatever the reason is, we have hope. Because we talked about this on the first episode of the season, and we have hope in Christ. We have hope for what's coming right?
[Aaron] Yeah, and we should keep our eyes on those things.
[Jennifer] So as husbands and wives, let us be quick to comfort one another during hard times. Let us lay down our lives and love for each other. Let us be slow to speak, quick to sit, fully present a good listener.
[Aaron] Yeah, and let us walk this life out in humbleness. And when those feelings of insecurity and uncertainty or fear of rejection, rise up, be quick to push them away. We need each other.
[Jennifer] Wait, I think you need to repeat that last line. We need ourselves know each other.
[Jennifer] We need each other in marriage.
[Aaron] We do.
[Aaron] We need each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
[Aaron] And most importantly, we need each other to point each other back to Christ. like that's the most comforting thing we can do is constantly be praying for the other person in their walk with the Lord, in their mind being reminded of the truth of the gospel. It's the most comfort we can get is pursuing that.
[Jennifer] And as we do, our eyes and our hearts need to be open. I'll say this, our eyes need to be open. And our hearts may be tender toward one another and take every opportunity. God gives us to comfort one another especially in our marriage relationship, and as we do this you guys, the greatest part is that God is glorified.
[Aaron] Yep, and we can cover it because we've been comforted, so don't forget that. Hope that was encouraging to you. As always, we end the episode as always this season, I should say, we end the episode with what we're grateful for.
[Jennifer] It might end up being a permanent thing.
[Aaron] It might, yeah. Because we want to encourage you to be grateful for everything.
[Jennifer] And we know that you are grateful but to acknowledge it and to vocalize it and to share it with someone that you know, and love.
[Aaron] So we'll be grateful people, who know how to comfort each other.
[Jennifer] Let them know what you're grateful for.
[Aaron] I'm grateful for my children. They're so full of energy and life often more energy than I have. That's probably why I'm so tired. They love to have fun. Especially when we get down on the rug our new rug that we talked about, the one that's comfortable in my knees and wrestle and play with them. They're just awesome. I honestly thank God for them, they're so amazing.
[Jennifer] I love them too. I'm grateful for modern technology. I realized that I have a great appreciation for my washing machine and dishwasher and just all the things that I get to use that have just been really awesome in my life. I was sitting on the couch the other day and I had a busy day with the kids doing school and playing and cleaning up after everyone. And I could hear the wash machine going. And I just thought, man I can't fathom everything that we did today and having to hand wash clothes. And so I just was really grateful that I have those ICM is a luxury. Like I, I never want to be blind to the provision that God's given us. And I'm just really grateful for those kinds of inventions. I think they're really cool.
[Aaron] Yeah, so thank you to whoever invented the washing machine.
[Aaron] As usual, we end our episodes in prayer. So would you pray with us, dear Lord thank you for comforting us in our affliction so that we may comfort others. We pray for the creativity and confidence as we comfort those around us, please us of how you desire to comfort others. Please show us thoughtful ways of showing our compassion. We pray we would be slow to speak and quick to listen. We pray we'd be quick to comfort one another in marriage protect our marriage in this way, that we would be comforters for each other. Help us to alleviate the burdens that bring us pain. May you be glorified as we choose to comfort others in Jesus name? Amen. We love you all. Thank you for joining us on this episode. We just ask if you haven't done so, would you leave us a review? And also would you be our share warriors and prayer warriors? Would you share this episode with a friend send him an email, send a text message share shared on social media. Would you just help spread the word about this podcast with someone, you know we love you and we'll see you next week.