He is the Spirit. The Comforter is the Spirit.
At times, I believe I have been comforted by the Spirit, but I did not even know what was happening, at first. If pain is happening, regardless of what kind of pain it is, I may be aware of nothing else but the pain. My experience of the pain is that “it” is awful; it’s simply bad. At some point, I am aware of an indescribable presence, maybe even quite faint. I am aware of the pain taking on a different shape, a decreased intensity. At such times as those, I sense that I am not alone; and the reason I am not alone is because the Spirit has become more apparent. True, the Holy Spirit is with us always. And yet, at times I experience His presence in a more pronounced way. He is my comforter.
When I was in Antarctica, the second half of my job assignment there, the newnes and excitement of being at the bottom of the world had worn off. I found myself missing “things” that I had not really noticed when I arrived, and ran down the steps of the cargo jet into the rude awakening of sub zero blowing snow. The sights and realities I was missing (because they were not in Antarctica) were … here’s a non-exhaustive list:
- old people
- fast food restaurants
- “good” restaurant
During that … heavy … time, I connected with the 2nd Corinthians, specifically the first chapter. I was in need of a comforter. But what I really needed was the Comforter. What became clear to me was this reality-mix: we experience the comforts of Christ, and we experience the sufferings of Christ. If we died with Him, we are raised with Him. After all, He is the Father of compassion, and the God of all comfort … and check this out: He comforts us in our troubles, and then … we are able to comfort others who are experiencing trouble, with the comfort we have received from God. I cannot explain why there is something powerful about that.