Divine Comfort

1914 154 God delights to reveal Himself in many ways to the hearts of His own; and each revelation has its own distinctive glory. Being "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," His divine nature, and infinite perfections were, at Christ's first advent, fully displayed in the glorious Person of His own well-beloved Son — "the Word made flesh" — in Whom "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Not only is God "the God of all grace"; the "God of peace," the "God of patience and consolation," the "God of Hope"; but He is also the "Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." If, in the days of old, He could send, through the prophet Isaiah, to His ancient people (spite of their many backslidings), such as a message as, "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God"; how sweet is it to trace, in the ways of Jesus when here, this rich comfort flowing out abundantly to Jew and Gentile alike

The life of our Lord is the everlasting witness to this. The nobleman's son, whose life was spared, though at the point of death; Jairus' daughter, raised to life just after death; the widow of Nain's only boy, given back to his mother alive, while the dead body was on its way to the cemetery; and the raising of Lazarus, after his corrupting body had lain four days in the grave — all these several stages are but so many proofs, if such were needed, that "the God of all comfort,'" in the person of Christ, was here to "bind up the broken-hearted." Yet, amidst the agonies of Calvary, this same Jesus would say, "Reproach hath broken My heart; and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none: and for comforters, but I found none." Paul, in a later day, is a wonderful instance of the sustaining power of God amidst every kind of trial, persecution, and bodily affliction; the like of which, few, if any, servants of Christ have ever passed through; but this is his testimony; "the God of all comfort'" is He "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God": for, (he adds), "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." Thus, whatever vicissitudes may befall the believer, throughout life's fitful journey; whatever in the family, the business, the world, the church, or his own condition of soul or body as well as in his service for the Lord, what is there to compare with the divine comfort ever to be found in God Himself? There, and there only, do we reach the living spring, the abiding source, the never-failing, and exhaustless, fountain of all comfort; yea the mighty heart of the eternal God; "with Whom is no variableness, nor shadow of turning"!

Now that Christ has come, and gone, that other, and indwelling, Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, delights to feed the believer's soul; and to lead each member of God's royal family into the green pastures, and beside the still waters, of His word; and thus are we assured that "whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope." Oh! what an inexhaustible mine of wealth is here laid up for faith Yes, the inspired volume, from Genesis to Revelation, is given by God for the very purpose of ministering suited truth, and comfort to all His children; and its previous pages simply teem with innumerable proofs of this in every age and dispensation. Thus God Himself is the living source, and His precious word, is the abiding channel, through which divine comfort flows into our ransomed souls; the object being that we should "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

A striking proof of the "comfort of the Scriptures" was afforded in the early days of the church, when a special word from the Lord was sent, through Paul, to the young Thessalonian saints at a time when their hearts were much exercised, and cast down. Not only had they been "turned to God" from idols, to serve a living and true God; but also "to wait for His Son from heaven." This being the constant hope, and immediate expectation, of their souls, they were cast down, though wrongly, at the thought that their fellow-believers, who had recently passed away, would not share with them the glory of the kingdom. Hence their sorrow and disappointment, through ignorance, was just the fitting occasion for the "God of all comfort" to send them an inspired, and special, revelation concerning those who had "fallen asleep." "As for God, His way is perfect"; and, through the pen of the very servant who had been the means of their conversion, He sends these troubled saints the glorious news, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Thus we have a further revelation concerning those who had died; for these would God bring with Jesus, so that they should not in any way lose their place in the coming kingdom. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Nor was this comfort intended merely for those young Thessalonian converts; but also to be the church's bright and glorious hope from that day till its blessed fulfilment; now so much nearer its sweet consummation than ever before.

One point more, however, remains, which the next chapter further announces: and we do well, beloved, to ponder its all-surpassing interest, in the heavenly light of the near future. With the express object of practically separating "the children of light, and the children of day," from the scenes of confusion and utter godlessness, by which they are surrounded, the Holy Spirit of God reminds them, in these words, of their glorious future. "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation (i.e., of the body as they already had that of the soul), by our Lord Jesus Christ; Who died for us that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." If this bright and glorious hope has its own absorbing, and formative, power in the believer's heart and mind, we shall surely find no difficulty in seeing the needs-be for the exhortation following, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."

Briefly, then, we have four ways brought before us, from the Scriptures referred to, in which divine comfort may be fully enjoyed by the believer; and they may thus be summarized: — (1) God Himself is the abiding source of all our comfort; (2) the Scriptures are the divine channel through which that comfort flows; (3) the Lord's coming again is the sustaining power of that comfort, and will be its blessed consummation; and (4) "our living together with Him," throughout the "day of eternity,' is the bright hope set before us, to encourage us, in this dark and evil day, to walk in true conformity to His holy will; and thus it becomes the solid foundation on which that comfort rests. Hence it is, that as ransomed pilgrims we can sing: —
"Comfort through all this vale of tears,
In blest profusion flows
And glory of unnumbered years
Eternity bestows." S.T.