Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord‘s hand
double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:1-2 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. II Corinthians 13-5 ESV
The Michaels family had a terrible thing happen to them one night. Some wires in their house were faulty, and some sparks from the wires started a fire. Before the family knew what was happening, their whole house was burning. It was terribly frightening for them to wake up in the middle of the night to the fire, but they were all able to get out of the house safely. They lost their home and almost all of the things they owned, and the children, Sue and Jimmy, had nightmares for several days after it happened. When they woke up crying, their mother and father would come to them and comfort them. They would tell the children that the fire was over and wouldn’t hurt them anymore. Before long, they were able to get help from their insurance company to buy a new place to live and to replace the things they had lost in the fire. Most of the things they got were brand new, and even nicer than the things they had lost. The Michaels family felt as if they ended up with more than they’d had before.
The prophet Isaiah had a message of comfort for God’s suffering people. They had been having terrible times with war and fear and the invasion of their enemies into their country, but the Lord’s message through Isaiah pointed ahead to a time of comfort, when their wars and hard times would be over and God would comfort them. Isaiah shows a picture of a father reassuring sad and frightened children that the things that had been hurting them wouldn’t hurt them anymore. God reassured his people that he had forgiven their sins and would give them back much more than they had lost. They deserved even worse trouble than they’d had because of their sins, but God’s grace and mercy forgave them and restored them to life and to love that was better than they’d ever known.
We also were in terrible trouble because of our sins. We were trapped by death and all the forces of evil, and there was nothing we could do to free ourselves. We deserved to suffer separation from God forever because we were his enemies and had fought against him in every way, but God loved us and showed us mercy. He sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus paid the full price for our sins on the cross. Because of Jesus, God forgives all our sins and sets us free from the things that hurt us. Instead of punishment, we receive comfort and blessing from God, and the good things he does for us every day are only the beginning. We will know joy and comfort forever with him in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the love and comfort you give us through Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.