11. THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2nd Corinthians 1:3~4)
Soon after the U.S. Marine Corps sent me to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to fly jet warplanes over Southeast Asia for a year, in early spring 1974 I began visiting an orphanage in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture. The orphanage belonged to the Salvation Army, was run by a Salvation Army lady captain with a staff of 4 or so women. The orphanage was for girls only. All the staff and the children here are Japanese.
Twice a month or so, I would go there on Saturday afternoon to be there 3 hours or so, playing with the children, singing songs with them and such, and even helping by cutting firewood for heating their bath water. On a pleasant Saturday afternoon in late summer, when I walked thru the gate of the orphanage, a chubby girl between 3 and 4 years old was standing alone in the very back of the small yard where the children play. She was sobbing and crying most brokenheartedly. She was a new arrival.
Most of these girls are not here because both parents died. Poverty caused some parents to ask the orphanage to take their child or children. Family trouble was another main cause. I know not what troubled home situation sent this little newcomer here, but it upset her greatly. She had been here 2 or 3 days, more or less crying all her waking hours each day. The teachers fed her, bathed her, put her to bed and such, and also hugged and comforted her. But they could not sit and hug her all day. They had other work to do. So they let her “cry it out” the first few days.
It broke my heart to see her so sad. I started playing with the 5 or 6 other girls who were in the small dirt yard, as my eyes stayed on that sad little soul. Twice, an older girl out of pity and compassion walked over to the crying girl and took her by one hand to try to lead her over to join us in playing on the slide, swing and such. But the little thing would react to that in anger, jerking her hand from theirs with a louder sob and wail. My heart yearned to try helping her myself. But I was reluctant, seeing her reject the Japanese girls’ kindness. I wasn’t even sure that she had noticed that I was there. And if this adult Caucasian man came over to her and got into her face, surely it would be even more traumatic than the sweet Japanese girls (with whom she can identify).
But her ceaseless sobbing tore me up more and more. Then a loud howl came forth from her, that seemed to say, “Doesn’t anybody care for my soul.” That did it! I walked over to where she stood with her head bowed low, staring straight at her feet. I knelt down on one knee close in front of her to be in her “low line of sight” and silently waited (mainly silent because I cannot yet speak much Japanese).
My one knee that was on the ground was in her line of sight, letting her know someone was there. Still heaving sobs, she ever so slowly raised her head till finally she looked me in the eye. When she made eye contact, I silently held both my arms straight out in front of me, silently beckoning unto her with open arms. She sniffed and sobbed for several more seconds, pondering this invitation. On seeing this foreign face, she might scream to the top of her voice and run inside the building close by. I waited.
Then she melted into my arms. I wrapped her up in both arms and stood up. Her head fell onto my shoulder and she fell completely silent, no more crying and sobbing. I began walking around in the small yard, singing hymns to her in English. She soon fell into a deep sleep on my shoulder. (Likely she had not taken a nap today, and it was evident that she had worn herself out crying). I continued to hold her almost 2 hours, sitting on a bench when I tired. She was asleep much of that time, and completely silent when awake. She just simply needed someone to comfort her.
Child, you can be a comfort to miserable children around you. Ask them to listen to you sing about Jesus, or any such “comfort” God lays on your heart to offer. Teenager, you can minister God’s comfort to teens around you whose lives are messed up. Each time the opportunity arises, ask your Lord to guide you Perfectly as to exactly what to say or do.
“Abba Father in Heaven, please fill my heart with compassion for the people around me who are hurting. By Thy Holy Spirit, please teach me exactly what to do and say to be a comfort to suffering people around me. Please bless Brother Richard as he preaches the One True God to the Japanese people, The God of All Comfort. Amen.”
It was two weeks later the next time I went to the orphanage. When I walked thru the gate, my heart leaped with joy to see “Chubby” happily playing in the yard with the other girls. She had “cried it all out”, possibly 2 weeks ago when I was here. Now, as soon as she sees me, she runs to me to be held again (for the longest). Seemed like she was made out of lead, so heavy. Thought my arms would drop off. Joy to the highest peak!
“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Galatians 5:5) “Lord Jesus Christ, I trust in Thee to save me and to impute God’s Righteousness into me. I hope in Thy Promise to come for us Christian believers and rapture us out of this corrupt world and take us to Thy Heaven. Please come for us today, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
Richard Yerby (Matsuida, Japan) www.Christ-is-all.us