Little Fantasies That Comfort…

When I was a small boy, I had some strange concepts about life. Perhaps the strangest concept involved a back-and-forth development between me and my parents. I was convinced that after I grew up and became an adult, my parents would shrink and become children. I then assumed that I would be able to boss them around and get back at them for all the childhood atrocities that they had put me through (e.g., having to eat all the food on my plate, going to bed early, etc.). I honestly thought that life was a constant back and forth of growing up and then shrinking back, with parents becoming children and children becoming parents. Obviously, such a notion is ludicrous and inconsistent with reality. But I remember daydreaming of the day that I would be able to boss my parents around and get even with them once they became children again…

Why did I tell you that story? I have no idea, but isn’t it interesting that we can harbor such weird thoughts about life and reality? Even as an adult, I often wonder, are there things that I believe about life, God, and eternity that provide comfort, but are in no way dialed into reality? Do you ever wonder such thoughts?

As a local church pastor, I often encounter people who have some wild ideas about life, God, and eternity. This becomes especially pronounced to me when I’m officiating funeral or graveside services. I’ve pretty much heard it all over the years…”My loved one is an angel with wings now…”Or, “I’m sure he’s up there fishing with Jesus right now…” Or, “I put this item into my loved one’s urn (or casket) so that they’ll have it with them in eternity…” Yeah, I’ve heard many strange things that people, in their grief, turn to for comfort and encouragement. Yet, these things, according to Scripture, are not dialed into reality.

You see, the little fantasies that we tell ourselves might be comforting, but they’re not true. In fact, isn’t it better to be comforted with the truth than with a lie? “But what if the truth hurts?” Ah, you see, that’s where the cookie crumbles…Perhaps we are attracted to the little fantasies that we conjure up in our minds because the truth is too difficult to fathom…

Not sure where to land the plane on this little blog post, except to say this…Even if the truth hurts, it eventually comforts. Truth is like a surgeon…It cuts, but it cuts to heal. Too many of us are putting the band-aid of our little fantasies on our gaping wounds, when what we really need is the durable truth of God’s Holy Word. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” My admonition is simple…Test all your thoughts against the truth of the Word of God. Do not settle for comforting lies when you can be strengthened by the truth.

My Scriptural First Aid Kit…

I was recently asked, “What are your go-to verses for when you’re feeling discouraged?” Below is what constitutes my Scriptural first aid kit. In other words, when I’m feeling the pressure of discouragement, and I feel like hope is bleeding out of me, here’s what revives my soul…

  • When I feel all alone, I remind myself that God is near – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).
  • When I feel like I can’t keep up with all the changes around me, I remind myself that God remains constant – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
  • When I feel like everything is so dirty and tainted, I remind myself that God is perfect – “And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory'” (Isaiah 6:3)!
  • When I feel anxious, I remind myself that God brings peace – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
  • When I feel like there is so much hate in the world, I remind myself that God is love – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).
  • When I feel the weight and conviction of my sin, I remind myself that God grants forgiveness – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
  • When I struggle with what to do next, I remind myself that God gives wisdom – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

This is just a short list, but it’s my Scriptural first aid kit. These are my seven dynamite verses that help me in my time of need. What’s your go-to set of verses?