Does Isaiah think it strange when God tells him to speak comfort to God’s long exiled people? That’s not a prophet’s usual assignment.
“Tell them enough is enough,” says God. “They are pardoned. It’s time to start a new life.”
A young friend of mine slipped into addiction to hard drugs. She had been a star high-school athlete, a sharp student, and a steady Christ follower. Her addiction nearly destroyed her. Family members lost count of how many times she lied to them, stole from them, or nearly died from overdosing.
At age 30, she woke up one day and found herself lying in an alley. As she says, “I lay there staring into the night sky. Suddenly, I felt as if someone was near me. And that someone whispered, ‘Enough is enough. I’ve not forgotten you. Get up and go to people who want to help you. There you will find comfort.’”
“I was still an addict,” she adds. “Already, I felt the need for my next fix. But, almost to my surprise, I got up and walked not to my supplier but to a nearby faith-based medical clinic. I’d been there a few times before, but always lied about my need. That day, instead of saying I didn’t feel well and needed something for pain, I told them upfront that I was an addict. They took me in without a word of judgment. I’m still an addict. I always will be. But on that day, I started the struggle to get and stay clean. And it started with the promise of comfort.”
Whenever I read Isaiah 40:1-2, I remember her story and ponder the power of words that release and comfort. It’s past time to speak such words to the world at large and to those we know who need them.
When has someone spoken God’s comfort to you? How did you respond? What might your ministry of speaking comfort look like?
Lord, speak your comfort to me and help me speak it to others. Amen.