To Be Comforters

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 (ESV)

To a people in exile, suffering under the weight and repercussions of their sin, far from home and seemingly without hope; prophets are called on by God to comfort them. To serve them, raise their eyes to see him and find hope.

This is a wonderful launch into a new section of Isaiah, an unfurling of chapters written and spoken to a nation in exile. But it is also a call for those that preach, that lead, that pastor God’s people today.

I think of the people in the pews, that might feel their own exile. The loss of expected gain. The struggle of anxiety or depression. The tensions of human relationships. The recovery from abuse or oppression. The drama of everyday life. It all piles on and when we gather to open God’s word, the true word that lasts, it it good news, the gospel we are meant to proclaim and reflect to one another.

I have spent enough days in ministry needing what only Jesus provides and sitting with people that are starving spiritually for the comfort only he can give. It is not a permissive gesture or false freedom to live for self, but it is grace that sustains, serves, and heals those that he loves. His people.

What can you give today? To your friends, to your neighbor, to those hurting and in need, to those celebrating and unaware? Jesus. Comfort that the striving can cease, that righteousness is won by him for us. That he is enough.

Hear of this comfort, this Savior, Jesus who longs for you, and gave himself up for you. That you can have peace, now and in eternity. Rest in him.

Divinely Established

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 ESV)

The church has been given a challenge to stay awake and not be swayed by those that desire to lead them away from the gospel. Instead stand firm in the truths of the good news of Jesus that was proclaimed to them, and in which they believed.

Paul then prays for them, and it is a prayer for us too. That Jesus would comforts us, give us peace, and establish us, keep us firm, in every work and word he has given.

This is the inclination that drives everything of our world. To gain some sense of comfort and to understand peace. For some that means control and harm to people; for others it means the avoidance of any conflict or hardship. For the Christian however, this is peace in the midst of violence and the hardships of life as well as the good times.

And it is sourced in the love and eternal comfort and hope we received by grace in Christ. So the cross of Jesus was not only about solving a cosmic spiritual problem, it was also about equipping us to live comforted and looking to the hope we have in him. This is what Paul is praying would increase in the church.

In this living then we accomplish the good works that Jesus has prepared for us. We proclaim the good news of forgiveness and purpose to a world wandering without direction. We share the peace we have been given.

So today, let us be reminded of the eternal comfort we have in the grace of Jesus. May God increase that sense in us and may we we rooted and firmly established in this hope as we live our everyday life and speak words of grace to others.