The God of comfort
Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins.” Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken! Isaiah 40:1-5 NLT
From the text, Isaiah was sent by God to provide the Israelites encouragement for they had been through difficult experiences. They had been invaded by the Assyrians and now were under sieged by the Babylonians. We dwell over the bitterness of life. When we go through trials and difficulties we think we do not deserve, we blame God and think that He is against us. But it is through those hardships that God breathes new life into us. We need to stop resenting Him and instead start delighting in Him. We can be rest assured that there will be an end to the trials we are facing for this is what God promised in His word. There will be an end even to the disciplines of God. Yes, our faith will be tested but it will not be all struggles. Faith when tested and proven will release new beginnings and hope. This is where we experience God’s deepest intention toward us where we realize that He is there to comfort us. How else could it be? If the focus of Christianity were our sins and punishment, our future would shut down. But in fact Christianity is all about the saving grace of God. What He does for us is to help us confront our sinfulness with His own absolute pardon through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Through His mercy, He provides us the means to be reconciled with Him or else we will not be comforted and will continue to suffer because of sin. God does not leave us when He is allowing trials to purge us. Job realized that God will not allow him to remain in a path that will bring him further away from Him. “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold” (Job 23:10). When God’s discipline has done its purpose, we realize that during the process, He is there providing us with abundant comfort. He is not distant but near to us.