Refusing Comfort

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Genesis 37:35 “And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.”

The news that Joseph had apparently been killed was tragic and heartbreaking to Jacob. Joseph was the favored son. Joseph was apparently killed because Jacob sent him on the errand to see how his brothers were doing in the field. I imagine that Jacob felt responsible for the death of his son because he sent him alone. However, the saddest part about this story is not that Joseph was apparently killed, but that Jacob refused the comfort of those who tried to comfort him. Instead of letting them comfort him, Jacob embraced the tragedy as his identity which robbed him of the blessings that the comfort would bring.

What is equally as sad is when God’s people refuse to be comforted about the tragedy that has happened in their life. It is not right to be bitter just because tragedy has happened. Embracing tragedy as your identity will not make your life better. Yes, you may get the sympathy of others for a while, but eventually their sympathy will end, and all that you will be left with is pain and bitterness. Let me share with you several thoughts about the wrong of refusing comfort.

First, refusing comfort will not make the pain any better. The pain of the tragedy will not stop when you refuse comfort and embrace hurt as your identity. The only one who you are hurting is yourself. Going into hibernation mode to embrace anger and hurt from the tragedy and refusing God’s comfort hurts God’s ability to use you and feeds Satan’s agenda to stop God.

Second, refusing comfort robs you of the blessings that you do have. Jacob’s refusal to be comforted kept him from enjoying the children he did have alive. Refusing comfort keeps you from seeing all that you still have in life. You are still very blessed despite the tragedy that has happened, and to refuse comfort keeps you from enjoying those blessings.

Third, refusing comfort is to indict God’s providence as evil. When you refuse comfort, you are saying that God was wrong. To refuse comfort because you disagree with what God allowed to happen is to say that you know better than God. My friend, God is good and right all the time, even when those times are hurtful to your life. God knows what He is doing in your life, and you have to trust Him that He is in control despite the tragedy that has happened to you.

Fourth, refusing comfort is the catalyst for bitterness to rot your attitude. Bitterness has never helped one person get better, and the only one you are hurting by embracing bitterness is yourself. It is always better to accept the comfort trying to be given to you than to refuse it so that you can accept bitterness.

Fifth, refusing comfort is to quench the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, and when you refuse comfort, you are quenching and grieving God’s Holy Spirit. The worst thing about refusing comfort is you are hurting the Holy Spirit and His desire to help you. When you quench the Holy Spirit from comforting you, you are quenching His power from working through you. Don't quench the Holy Spirit’s comfort; accept it and let God use your tragedy as a tool to help others through you.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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