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Beyond Comfort

God gives comfort enough to share.

Introduction

Where do you turn for comfort when you encounter loss, pain, or disappointment? Some people turn to food. For some reason, certain foods—like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, apple pie, and ice cream—seem to make us feel better. There's actually some science behind comfort food. Fatty, sugar-laden foods slow the production of certain stress hormones, so we calm down. There's some psychology behind it, too. Men typically turn to heartier foods such as meat loaf, pasta, mashed potatoes, or stew, because those were the foods their mothers used to make for them. Women, on the other hand, tend to avoid labor-intensive foods when times get tough, and opt for snacks—chocolate, chips, ice cream. If food doesn't work, how about a drink? A cup of hot chocolate usually hits the spot. Some people go for the harder stuff. They don't call it Southern Comfort for nothing.

Some people turn inward when life hurts. They pull back from the normal routine and relationships. They become introspective and take long walks in the woods, listen to music, or write in a journal. Others turn outward and get active; they socialize, volunteer, or visit family and friends. Some people say that comfort is simply a matter of time—keep up the routine, let the days pass, and eventually you'll begin to feel better: time heals all wounds.

I suppose any one of these might offer a measure of comfort in a time of loss or pain, but are they really enough? Macaroni and cheese might offer some solace after a bad day at work, but it's not going to cut it when something really bad happens. When life hurts, we need something—or someone—better than that.

Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in response to a difficult time in his life. ...

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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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