Each of us needs a healthy dose of comfort from time to time. The child at play who trips and scrapes her knee badly needs comfort from a parent or other caregiver. The young man or woman at college with its unfamiliar surroundings needs someone to talk to. Consider also the young couple whose first child was stillborn, the middle-aged couple whose son died in an accident, and the elderly man whose wife of 60 years is slipping away because of Alzheimer's. Who will comfort them?
Thank God that there is good news in Isaiah's song. God himself says, "Comfort, comfort my people. . . . Speak tenderly. . . ."
When we need comfort, we must remember, first, that God is the Sovereign Lord. He will meet us in every situation with his powerful arm. As an old hymn puts it, "Oh, let me not forget that, though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet." Never forget it! This is our Father's world.
Second, our Father is a loving, compassionate God. No matter what adversities you may be going through today, you can take comfort. Like a shepherd with his sheep, God carries us close to his heart. Remember Jesus' parting words: "I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Thank you, Lord, that you are our powerful God of comfort. Even as you carry us close to your heart, so too may we joyfully carry each other's burdens as we live for you. In Jesus' name, Amen.