"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins." (Isaiah 40:1-2 3)
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
We live in a world addicted to comfort. We ourselves long to have comfort, but we often find our comfort in things that do not satisfy. Throughout the history of the world, humans have sought for comfort in many places. In an ancient trilogy of plays called the Oresteia, a man Orestes finds comfort, rest and resolution in the democratic state. Many others have found rest in their fleeting wealth. Each of these things though, is a false comfort which is not able to provide true rest. There is no comfort in government, even the ideal human government. There is no comfort in wealth: it is like shifting sand. There is only one place for true comfort: that is in our God.
So when the Bible talks about comfort, we can be tempted to consider God’s comfort like the worlds comfort: one which might fail at any time. Or at least one option among many. We have to hedge our bets and not put all our eggs in one basket. Perhaps you still rely a little bit on your possessions or the government to find comfort.
But the economy of God does not allow us to have such double allegiances. You cannot serve both God and money. As humans, we can only have one allegiance, this is a part of our created nature, and when we do divide our allegiance between God and mammon, we are allowing sin to fester in our lives. It is similar to the story of the princess and the pea; even a small pea under many mattresses will ruins sleep. So a little allegiance to other things that we think might give us comfort ruin us, and over time, we hate both our God and the wealth our hope was partially placed in.
So consider what this mean to find comfort in our God. Through the work of Jesus Christ, we are able to have full comfort throughout our whole lives. This means that even if there is no hope in government, we still can live with comfort and at peace. Like the Israelites in the time of Isaiah 40: the land had been laid waste an only Jerusalem remained intact, albeit having undergone a siege. There was deliverance, but not without physical loss. It is hard to imagine anyone in that generation feeling like they could be at rest, but God through Isaiah calls his people to be comforted. In Isaiah 40, Isaiah is looking toward the promise of Christ, and he found rest.
In the same way, as we live in this broken world, we can find rest as we look through the prism of Christ. We can live with comfort and even hope even if the American republic fails: because Christ has already conquered and is sitting at the right hand of the Father right now.
--J. Andersen, 05/04/16