“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.
[Isa 40:1 NET]
Comfort is a very sweet word. It has music in it–for those who are in trouble. And most people have some trouble. This verse was spoken first to captives. There are a great many captives–people carried away from home into a strange land. Many people are in bondage of sorrow; it is hard to find a home without its grief. Many are in bondage of circumstances; life is too hard for them. There is a great deal of poverty in the world.
But here is God’s gospel: “Comfort my people.” Few words are more misunderstood, however, than the Bible word ‘comfort’. Many people think it means mere condolence to sit down with sufferers and weep with them, pitying them–but doing nothing to lift them up. But God’s comfort is no such weak, sentimental thing as this. He never merely sits down with us, in passive yielding to trouble. He comes to deliver us, to lead us out of our bondage, to make us victorious over trial or sorrow. There is always in Bible comfort, the thought of strength. No bondage is hopeless, under the skies of divine love. The stars shine into the deepest dungeon. There is not in any prison in this world, a captive to whom the gospel does not come with its “Speak comfortably.”