Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. (Isaiah 40:1)

Store up comfort.This was the prophet Isaiah’s mission.The world is full of hurting and comfortless hearts. But before you will be competent for this lofty ministry, you must be trained. And your training is extremely costly, for to make it complete, you too must endure the same afflictions that are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood.Consequently,your own life becomes the hospital ward where you are taught the divine art of comfort.You will be wounded so that in the binding up of your wounds by the Great Physician, you may learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere. Do you wonder why you are having to experience some great sorrow? Over the next ten years you will find many others afflicted in the same way. You will tell them how you suffered and were comforted. As the story unfolds, God will apply the anesthetic He once used on you to them.Then in the eager look followed by the gleam of hope that chases the shadow of despair from the soul, you will know why you were afflicted. And you will bless God for the discipline that filled your life with such a treasure of experience and helpfulness.

meditation: God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.

They tell me I must bruise The rose’s leaf,

Ere I can keep and use Its fragrance brief.

They tell me I must break The skylark’s heart,

Ere her cage song will make The silence start.

They tell me love must bleed, And friendship weep,

Ere in my deepest need I touch that deep.

Must it be always so With precious things?

Must they be bruised and go With beaten wings?

Ah, yes! by crushing days, By caging nights, by scar

Of thorn and stony ways, These blessings are! 

Culled from: Streams in the desert devotionals

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