It was near freezing outside and there was a drizzling rain that made the cold seep into your bones. It was a good day to eat hot stuff in bowls, which is just what I was blessed to do! Breakfast was old fashioned oatmeal (with brown sugar and cinnamon, and actually cooked, not flakes mixed with boiling water); homemade chicken ala king at lunch (not always served in a bowl, but this was, which made it even better); and oyster stew for supper (if that one’s not to your liking, substitute your favorite chili in your thoughts).
The list of “hot stuff in a bowl” goes beyond what I enjoyed that day. How about homemade vegetable soup made with ingredients fresh from the garden, or gumbo (seafood or chicken or whatever else you like in it), or beef stew? Just thinking about those can make your tummy warm up! No wonder they call it comfort food.
Comfort food tastes good but also brings a sense of well-being. Many thousands (millions?) of bowls of hot soup (chicken and otherwise) have been served by mothers and grandmothers when their children and grandchildren had a cold. The soup itself has no healing power (I realize there will be debate on that). The taste is pleasing and the heat can clear your head and warm you from the inside, so you do feel better – thus it is a comfort. But the real sense of well-being comes from the fact that the one giving you the soup loves you. They want to take care of you…to help you feel better…to comfort you.
The Apostle Paul wrote a wonderful blessing to encourage and comfort the Thessalonians:
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” 2nd Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV
Our overriding comfort is an eternal one that has been given to us already – Jesus paid the price for that. Notice the focus Paul prays for in the present – he prays that God will comfort their hearts. The heart is where true comfort resides – from there our hearts can be established by God for good works and words.
Hot stuff in bowls is good on cold days. The taste and warmth make it comforting, but it only becomes true comfort food when our heart is affected by the love of others (like I was that day when my wife, Sharon, prepared it for me). However, our true comfort only comes when our heart is affected by the love of God.