Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians: 3).
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortable to Jerusalem and cry unto her that warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for her sins (Isaiah 40: 1-2).
At this time, the peoples of this world are seeking comfort in all sorts of ways. The western civilisation has been alerted to its fragility once again, when previously ‘reliable’ things like jobs, travel, bank accounts and even the provision of food, are now proven not to be secure. Of course for those people across the globe whose lives prior to this most recent pandemic were drenched in poverty and other forms of persecution, their pain is being compounded.
There is I believe a deep yearning in the human soul for comfort.
This begins with the physical needs that are presented to us in whatever stage of human existence we find ourselves in – financial difficulty through the impact of the virus on your business perhaps, or having extreme difficulty in now providing food for your young family and cover all the household bills; or maybe you have been unjustly imprisoned in a country or region where your passionately held beliefs are suppressed and outlawed.
However there is a comfort that we all need, one that transcends the physical, reaching deep into our souls. This is the comfort only God can give through Jesus Christ who is the God of all comfort.
The Apostle Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Corinthians that God comforted him in his tribulations so that he could then in turn comfort those which are in any trouble. I know there are many, many people who right at this moment in time, comforting those other who are in troubles, like the thousands of NHS workers who have stepped up to help the patients affected. I know also of many people that as a lifestyle devote their lives to helping others in need, even at the detriment to their own reputations and position.
It would be easy to consider our own generation as quite unique and experiencing more difficult and extreme hardships that occurred in previous generations. This is not the case of course. The prophet Isaiah living approximately 2,760 years ago, gave clear words from the Lord about the fragility of the human existence – “….all flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass shall wither, the flower shall fade: because the spirit of the Lord blowers upon it: surely the people is grass.” (Isaiah 40:8).
God wanted Isaiah to comfort the people and speak comfortably to Jerusalem – I believe God still wants us to do the same today in 2020 and beyond – ‘to prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’
May we all seek the strength and willingness to comfort the people in our own sphere of influence, and remember to speak comfortably to Jerusalem at every opportunity, for in doing this God will release his blessings upon all.
Stuart. March 30 2020