"God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT
I never understood the place comfort food played during loss until last week. All I wanted was a bottle of diet Coke, but somehow I walked out of our neighborhood grocery store with all that AND a bag of chips; like somehow my body craved more and more comfort food after an entire week of binging.
Within hours of my father-in-laws passing, neighbors dropped off chicken cutlets and salad. Friends delivered a basket of gooey pastries piled a mile high. Fed Ex dropped a Honey Baked Ham on the front stoop and gourmet chocolate baskets poured in from my husband's sympathetic clients.
In a brief moment I thought, "There's a Seinfeld episode here somewhere!" What a funny way to share condolences, right? Not so much.
As waves of extended family and close friends arrived and we poured over Dad's photographs and favorite hymns, the last thing we thought of was food preparation or trudging out to a public restaurant. Exhausted at the end of every day all we craved was food - comfort food - that ooey, gooey, chocolaty, sweet and salty, delectable that satisfied our sorrowful emptiness with some familiar, short-term happiness.
But all that AND the bag o' chips I bought a week later? It wasn't lasting comfort. I knew that. Lasting comfort comes in knowing the Source of all comfort - God our merciful Father - and being reassured that Dad knew Him, too. Sounds cliche, I know, but when you realize the finality of death - when you know that today IS the last day you'll set eyes on your beloved this side of eternity - there is no lasting comfort aside from knowing God and knowing death is NOT the end.
God, in all his mercy, sent his Son, Jesus to live among us (Emmanuel) to show us who He was and to bridge the chasm that sin drove between us. Through Jesus' death and resurrection lies all hope and comfort that even in death, those who place their faith and trust in Him, will be resurrected, given a heavenly body and spend eternity in a place prepared just for us.
"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands." 1 Corinthians 5:1 NLT
Now, that is everlasting comfort food and it is with that same comfort, Paul says, that we are to comfort one another.
Thank you, heavenly Father, for your mercy and enveloping us with your everlasting comfort in the midst of loss and sorrow. How reassuring to know that in this temporary world, You have prepared a place just for us; that in the end, you will make us anew and eternal in Your presence.