Where's Waldo? I mean, my Comforter?


I was reading Lamentations (for some reason) this morning and came across vs. 16

I weep because of these things; my eyes flow with tears.

For there is no one in sight who can comfort me or encourage me. (NET)

This phrase about a "comforter" reminded me of Jesus' promises in John 14–16 to send a "helper".

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (Jn 14.16, ESV)

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, lI will send him to you. (Jn 16.7, ESV)

The obvious difference here is that the helper (or Spirit) will not be someone that we can say what the lamenter does in Lam 1.16: Where is my comforter?! The absence of Jesus means the presence of the Spirit.

Now even though in English we're throwing around two different translations (i.e. a "comforter" and the "helper"), in Greek we're looking at the exact same root. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that the Old Testament was written in (mainly) Hebrew—but I'm talking about the Septuagint, the Old Greek version. Take a look. Here is the "LXX" of Lam 1.16 and the GNT of John 14.16.

ὅτι ἐμακρύνθη ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ ὁ παρακαλῶν με (Lam 1.16)

καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον δώσει ὑμῖν (John 14.16)

So it's interesting, right, that the one Jesus promises to send—who will never leave us—is the same (I won't say person, but) role that so many people of the old covenant were calling out for?

An old hymn comes to mind: Count your blessings, name them one by one. The promises we were given in John 14 to 16, and the reality we experience today, are certainly blessings we should remember every day. Thank God we need not ever cry like the lamenter.

For those who remember, go ahead and try to find Waldo...