By Quinnise Pettway, Crosswalk.com
How often have we sat back and viewed God as an unapproachable, demanding, or distant spiritual being whose only goal was to place demands and restrictions on us and rain down fire or some form of punishment every time we make a mistake? Now and again, the world may seek to depict Him that way. However, throughout Scripture, countless characteristics of God are revealed that ought to bring us comfort, proving that our heavenly Father is far more than just a disciplinarian and a judge.
The following list is by no means an exhaustive list of God's comforting characteristics, but prayerfully it serves as a reminder of who He is and desires to be in the lives of all His children.
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God is approachable. Because Jesus died for us, and the veil was torn, we can go directly to God for ourselves anytime our little hearts desire to. No more high priests offering sacrifices on our behalf. God does not turn us away or frown upon us. On the contrary, God invites us into His presence.
Hebrews 4:16 states, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." We are not only encouraged to come to our Savior, but we are also offered precious gifts for approaching Him.
God cares deeply about us. 1 Peter 5:7 states, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
This passage shows that although God desires our praise, thanksgiving, and worship, He also wants our worries. God welcomes your greatest fears and sources of anxiety. Also, the passage does not just say some of our cares; it says "all" of them. Not many humans want to hear about all of our worries, but we have such an amazing God whose ears are tuned to hear about every one of our concerns. That is what we can call comforting supernatural caring!
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God is not just loving; He is love. When looking in the dictionary for the definition of love (put on your holy supernatural glasses for a moment), we should find a picture of God.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:7-9, "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
God is forgiving. He does not hold grudges as some people do.
God's forgiveness is so vast that He allowed Jesus Christ to die on the cross to cover all our sins. Talk about "Super Forgiver." God is the epitome of forgiveness. God not only forgives us, but he remembers our sins no more. Isaiah 43:25 states, "I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again." While we do have to experience the natural consequences of our sins, at times, God does not hold our sins against us. All He asks is that we confess our sins and forgive others as He forgives us. 1 John 1:9 states, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." May you also be reminded that even when you find difficulty forgiving yourself, God has forgiven you. If your Creator has forgiven you, who knows your thoughts before you think them, and steps before you take them, certainly you are permitted to forgive yourself.
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5. Compassionate, Faithful, and Merciful
This comforting characteristic combo is shout-worthy! When reading Scripture, sometimes you will find passages packed with our heavenly Father's traits. Psalm 86:15 is a prime example of this. It states, "But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 states, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." These words clearly highlight God's comforting characteristics towards all of His children.
God is honest. Translation, God is a promise keeper! Whereas human beings may struggle at being honest, the Bible reminds us that God does not, cannot, and will not lie. Numbers 23:19 plainly states, "God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”
When God says something, He means it. When God makes promises, He will deliver. We can be confident in Him and all that is written in His Word. God says what He means and means what He says.
Deuteronomy 7:9 states, "Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands."
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Honesty, faithfulness, and trustworthiness go hand in hand. God does not fail us. God proves trustworthiness by his consistency in our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
When we trust God with our hearts and minds, He guides us. God leads us in the right direction. His will and His plan for our life take center stage. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, "But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit."
God is always with us and never turns his back on us. The latter portion of Hebrews 13:5 states, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." No time or space falls outside of the realm of never. God is always with us, and not only does He promise to remain present in our lives, but He also promises that He will never abandon us.
For further confirmation, Psalm 139:7-12 eloquently reminds us of God's never-ending presence in our lives. It says, "I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you." So, remember that God is always with you in those lonely moments or times where no one seems to be around.
God is able. There is nothing He cannot do. He is all-powerful and almighty! Ephesians 3:20 states, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
When you face challenges that appear impossible to overcome, you can take comfort in knowing that God is able, and because He is able, we are able. Jeremiah 32:17 states, "O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!" Additionally, Matthew 19:26 states, "Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'" Each one of these scriptures reiterates that God is able. Find comfort in knowing that there is absolutely nothing impossible for God. He is able!
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