2 Cor 1:4 describes God as the ‘God of all comfort’.

Yes, He truly is a God who wipes away our tears, one who comforts us in time of loss and hardship, but there is more to the meaning of this word.

The greek word translated ‘comfort’ does not only imply a shoulder to cry on. It also means to encourage and exhort. It means to strengthen by consolation.

My mum has been a mentor for me – and I have opened up and shared with her during my own personal times of need. It has been such a blessing to have someone who listens to me and whom I know is always on my side and wanting my best. She has wept with me and prayed with me – but has always finished on an encouraging and empowering note. Her goal would always be to take me from sorrow and despair, through forgiveness and repentance to a place of new courage and new hope to face the future.

In this way, she has been like the Holy Spirit to me. He is described as the ‘comforter’ – using the same Greek word. Like my mum, He not only listens and comforts us as we pour out our hearts to Him – but He also then wipes away our tears, and gives us fresh courage and a new vision. He gets us back on track, gives us courage to face the giants ahead of us – for truly He is with us and nothing is impossible when He is on our side!

No, God is not a tissue box. As we come to Him in times of need, He will gives us new courage to face the future. And will then enable us to encourage and comfort others with the same comfort and encouragement that we have received (2 Cor 1:5).