so the church throughout all judea and galilee and samaria had peace and was being built up. and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. [acts 9:31]
“walking in…the comfort of the Holy Spirit.”
affliction can be overwhelming and our natural reaction often times is to isolate, withdraw, or close ranks. affliction can be paralyzing. it consumes our minds and therefore consumes our actions. the idea of only pursuing healing, running from the thing causing the pain, or giving up on the mission that is leading to suffering is a natural reaction in many ways.
certainly pursuing healing is wise and important. but what’s interesting about this verse is the idea of walking. walking is movement. it’s the opposite of being paralyzed or stationary. yet this is where the church in acts is finding comfort. i believe this is because comfort is not just an idea or a feeling, but it is the presence of the Comforter. which means, where you go, in step with the Spirit, he will be comforting you.
the temptation is to not bring the gospel into your workplace because it could bring blowback – but the comforter is with you. the temptation is to not speak up against social injustice because you could offend family members – but the comforter is with you. the temptation is to avoid new relationships because you were abused in a previous one – but the comforter is with you.
again, the comfort of the Holy Spirit does not mean all affliction will be gone (in this life…). but i believe it is much better to be in the presence of the comforter in the midst of my affliction rather than on my own, and still in the midst of my affliction.
and that’s the beauty – in every affliction, in every time, in every place, God is with his people through his Spirit. so in the midst of your affliction today, be aware of the presence of the comforter – he walks with you.
~ keith kozlowski