16 Jan The God of All Comfort
Have you ever gone through a painful trial and wondered How could God let this happen? or Where is He in all this? You’re not alone. Thoughts like these no doubt swirled in the minds of the Israelites as they were facing down seventy years of heavy oppression in exile in Babylon.
This is why God moved the prophet Isaiah to write this to the nation: “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God. ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins'” (Isaiah 40:1-2).
The word comfort is repeated to emphasize not just that God’s people need comfort but that God Himself is the God of all comfort. And His comfort isn’t a shallow pat on the back; it reaches to the very depths of your soul.
Is your heart ready for Him to come and bring comfort to the broken places of your life? As Isaiah went on to write, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth'” (vv. 3-4). In these verses, the prophet named four ways to prepare for God’s comfort:
- The valleys should be exalted. I consider these valleys oppression—the darkest, saddest places in your life where you just want to cave in on yourself. God is saying, “Let’s fill up those places. Let Me be the glory and the lifter of your head.” God can heal the wounds of death, disease, divorce, disappointment, and depression (I can personally attest to that last one).
- The mountains and hills should be brought low. I call these obstacles—fear, anxiety, lies, and things that make you doubt God. I’ve heard it said that everything you want is on the other side of fear. So let the Lord take those mountains and hills low.
- The crooked places need to be made straight. The word crooked literally means deceitful, so I consider these objections, excuses, and lies you believe about yourself—thoughts like “I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. She’s smarter than I am. No one notices me.” God can straighten those out when you instead dwell on His thoughts toward you.
- The rough places should be made smooth. I think of this as opposition that comes from bullies, naysayers, and people who don’t believe in you. My advice is to get into community with God’s people and start believing the truth of what God says about you, not what someone else says about you.
What’s preventing God from comforting you in your current affliction? A mountain of some sort, or something so crooked and tangled up you could never untangle it on your own? Let this comfort you today: He can move that mountain. He can untangle those rough places. He’s saying to you, “Prepare your heart. I’m coming.” And He will come.
Because you know what? The Lord is for you. He’s not against you. And He is the Creator of the universe. There is nothing that can stop Him from getting to you. He truly is the God of all comfort.